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MORLEY'S 

UNIVERSAL LIBRARY 

In Monthly Volumes, ONE SHILLING Eaeh. 

READY ON THE 25th OF EACH MONTH. 



MORLEY'S UNIVERSAL LIBRARY. 



i. SHERIDAN'S PLAYS. 

2. PLAYS FROM MOLIERE. By English Dramatists. 

3. MARLOWE'S FAUSTUS AND GOETHE'S FAUST. 
4- CHRONICLE OF THE CID. 

5. RABELAIS' GARGANTUA, AND THE HEROIC DEEDS 

OF PANTAGRUEL. 

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MENT ; WITH SIR ROBERT FILMER'S PATRIARCHA. 

10. BUTLER'S ANALOGY OF RELIGION. 

11. DRYDEN'S VIRGIL. 

12. SIR WALTER SCOTT'S DEMONOLOGY AND 

WITCHCRAFT. 

13. HERRICK'S HESPERIDES. 

14. COLERIDGE'S TABLE TALK: WITH THE ANCIENT 

MARINER AND CHRISTABEL. 

15. BOCCACCIO'S DECAMERON. 

16. STERNE'S TRISTRAM SHANDY. 

17. HOMER'S ILIAD, Translated by George Chapman. 

18. MEDIEVAL TALES. 

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20. PLAYS AND POEMS BY BEN JONSON. 

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LONDON AND NEW YORK. 



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AND POEMS. 

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31. CHARLES LAMB'S ESSAYS OF ELIA. 

32. THE HISTORY OF THOMAS ELLWOOD, Written by 

Himself. 

33. EMERSON'S ESSAYS, REPRESENTATIVE MEN, AND 

SOCIETY AND SOLITUDE. 

34. SOUTHEY'S LIFE OF NELSON. 

35. DE QUINCEY'S OPIUM EATER, SHAKSPEARE, 

GOETHE. 

36. STORIES OF IRELAND. By Maria Edgeworth. 

37. THE PLAYS OF ARISTOPHANES, Translated by Frere. 

38. SPEECHES AND LETTERS. By Edmund Burke. 

39. THOMAS A KEMPIS' IMITATION OF CHRIST. 

40. POPULAR SONGS OF IRELAND, Collected by 

Thomas Crofton Croker. 

41. THE PLAYS OF £SCHYLUS, Translated by R. Potter. 



GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, 

LONDON AND NEW YORK. 



THE SCALP HUNTERS 



THE 



SCALP HUNTERS 



A ROMANCE OF NORTHERN MEXICO 



BY 

CAPTAIN MAYNE REID 

AUTHOR OP "THB RIFLE RANGERS " 



LONDON 

GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS 

Broadway, Ludgate Hill 

NEW YORK : 9 LAFAYETTE PLACE 



CAPTAIN 


MAYNE REID'S 


NOVELS. 


THE RIFLE RANGERS. 




THE WOOD RANGERS. 


THE SCALP HUNTERS. 




THE TIGER HUNTER. 


THE HUNTER'S FEAST. 




THE GUERILLA CHIEF. 


THE WHITE CHIEF. 




THE MAROON. 


THE QUADROON. 




LOST LENORE. 


THE WAR TRAIL. 




THE WHITE GAUNTLET. 



THE HALF BLOOD. 
THE WILD HUNTRES9. 



THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN. 
THE LONE RANCHE. 



" Captain Mayne Reid's style is at once graceful and spirited. His 
descriptions of Americam tropical scenery are drawn, not only with the 
hand of a master, but with a brilliancy and reality that prove them done 
from the life." — Athenaum, 

" Mis stories glow yaA. spaikle with pcetic fancy.**— Morning Put. 



PREFACE. 



About a year ago, T submitted to the public a booH 
under the title of • The Eifle Rangers.' It was pre- 
faced as ' truth poetically coloured ;' truth for the 
groundwork, the flowering fancy ; fact, enamelled 
by fiction : a mosaic of romance and reality. 

Some have said that the ' poetic colouring ' was a 
thought too vivid. Perhaps it was so ; but the gene- 
ral judgment upon that little effort not only satisfied 
but gratified me : and to you who have pronounced 
hi its favour, I now offer ' another of the same.' 

I shall be quite content if your sentence upon this 
be marked by no greater severity. 

I regret that my book exhibits no higher purposo 
than to amuse ; but I have endeavoured to enamel 
its pages with a thousand facts, the result of my own 
experience. I have endeavoured to paint scenes of 
a strange land as they are painted on my memory. 
If you cannot believe them true, may I hope that yo- 
will acknowledge their vraisemblance ? 

.But why should I contend for their truthfulness 
after declaring myself guilty of no higher aim than 



*1 PREFACE. 

to amuse you? I will not, then. Let it aU pasc 
tor a fiction — a novel, if you will ; but, in return for 
this concession on my part, permit me to ask you, 
do you not think it a 'novel kind' of a novel? If 
jou answer this question in the affirmative, then 
have I won my purpose. 

Before going further, I have two words to say ; ono 
of warning to you, and one of apology for myself. My 
scenes are of a sanguinary nature ; some of them 
extremely so ; but, alas ! far less red than the reali- 
ties from which they were drawn. I know that this 
is but a lame apology for having depicted them ; but 
I do not wish you to enter upon them unwarned. 
I am a coarse, crude, and careless writer. I lack 
those classic sympathies which enable many of my 
brethren of the pen to give such elegant expression 
to their thoughts. If I must write, therefore, I am 
compelled, in order to interest, to lay more stress 
upon matter than manner : to describe the rude re- 
alities rather than the refinements of thought and 
life. Moreover, my book is a trapper book. It is 
well known that trappers swear like troopers : some 
of them, in fact, worse. I have endeavoured to 
Christianise my trappers as much as lay in my power ; 
but I fear that this emphatic phraseology is too much 
i key-stone of their character to bo omitted without 
undoing them altogether. To use a hackneyed figure 
it would be ' Hamlet with Hamlet left out.' 

I, however, see a wide distinction between the 
impiety of a trapper's oath and the immorality of an 



PREFACE. Vii 

onchaste episode. The former can only shock the 
moral nerve for a moment ; the latter may impress 
it for ever. 

I trust, reader, that you are emancipated from that 
literary hypocrisy which refuses to perceive this dis- 
tinction ; and, trusting so, with confidence I leave my 
toaracter in your hands. 

MAYNE BEID. 



THE SCALP-HUN TEES. 



CHAPTEE I. 

THE WILD WEST. 

Unrol the world's map, and look upon the great 
northern continent of America. Away to the wna 
west, away toward the setting sun, away beyond 
joany a far meridian, let your eyes wander. Eesi 
them where golden rivers rise among peaks that carry 
the eternal snow. Best them there. 

You are looking upon a land whose features are 
unfurrowed by human hands, still bearing the marks 
of the Almighty mould, as upon the morning of crea- 
tion ; a region whose every object wears the impress 
of God's imago. His ambient spirit lives in the silent 
grandeur of its mountains, and speaks in the roar of 
its mighty rivers : a region redolent of romance, rich 
in the reality of adventure. 

Follow me, with the eye of your mind, througk 
scenes of wild beauty, of savage sublimity. 

I stand in an open plain. I turn my face to the 
north, to the south, to the east, and to the west ; and 
on all sides behold the blue circle of the heavens gird- 
ling around me. Nor rock, nor tree, breaks the ring 
of the horizon. What covers the broad expanse 

B 



10 THE SCALI'-HU-VTERS. 

between? Wood? water? grass? Xo ; flowers.- As 
far as my eye can range, it rests only on flowers on 
beautiful flowers ! 

I am looking as on a tinted map, an enamelled pic- 
ture brilliant with every hue of the prism. 

Yonder is golden yellow, where the helianthus turns 
her dial-like face to the sun. Yonder, scarlet, where 
the malva erects its red banner. He^-e is a parterre 
of the purple monarda, there the euphorbia sheds its 
silver leaf. Yonder the orange predominates in the 
showy flowers of the asclepia ; and beyond, the eye 
roams over the pink blossoms of the cleome. 

TUe breeze stirs them. Millions of corollas are 
waving their gaudy standards. The tall stalks of the 
helianthus bend and rise in long undulations, like 
biilOAvs on a golden sea. 

Tliey are at rest again. The air is filled with 
odours sweet as the perfumes of Araby or Ind. 
Myriads of insects flap then gay wings : flowers of 
themselves. The bee-birds skirr around, glancing like 
stray sunbeams ; or, poised on whirring wings, drink 
from the nectarcd cups ; and the wild bee, with laden 
limbs, clings among the honeyed pistils, or leaves for 
bis far hive with a song of joy. 

Who planted these flowers? Who hath woven 
them into these pictured parterres ? Nature. It is 
her richest mantle, richer in its hues than the scarfs 
of Cashmere. 

This is the ' weed prairie.' It is misnamed. It is 

the (jarden of God. 

* » * --p * * 

The scene is changed. I am in a plain as before, 
with the unbroken horizon circling around me. What 
iete» I behold ? Flowers ? No ; there is not a flower 
in sight, but one vast expanse of living verdure 



THE WILD WEST. ]1 

From north to south, from east to west, stretches the 
prairie meadow, green as an emerald, and smooth aa 
the surface of a sleeping lake. 

The wind is upon its bosom, sweeping the silkea 
blades. They are in motion ; and the verdure is 
dappled into lighter and darker shades, as the shadows 
of summer clouds flitting across the sun. 

The eye wanders without resistance. Perchance it 
encounters the dark hirsute forms of the buffalo, or 
traces the tiny outlines of the antelope. Perchance it 
follows, in pleased wonder, the far-wild gallop of a 
snow-white steed. 

This is the ' grass prairie,' the boundless pasture of 

the bison. 

****** 

The scene changes. The earth is no longer level, 
but treeless and verdant as ever. Its surface exhibits 
a succession of parallel undulations, here and there 
swelling into smooth round hills. It is covered witl. 
a soft turf of brilliant greenness. These undulations 
remind one of the ocean after a mighty storm, when 
the crisped foam has died upon the waves, and tho 
big swell comes bowling in. They look as though 
they had once been such waves, that by an omni- 
potent mandate, had been transformed to earth, and 
suddenly stood still. 

This is the ' rolling prairie.' 

Again the scene changes. I am among greenswards 
and bright flowers ; but the view is broken by gxuves 
and clumps of copse-wood. The frondage is varied, 
its tints are vivid, its outlines soft and graceful. As I 
move forward, new landscapes open up continuously : 
views park-like and picturesque. ' Gangs ' of buffalo, 
herd*' of antelope, and 'droves' of wild horse.-, 

b 2 



VI THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

mottle the far vistas. Turkeys run into the coppice, 
and pheasants whirr up from the path. 

Where are the owners of these lands, of these flocks 
and fowls? Where are the houses, the palaces, that 
should appertain to these lordly parks ? I look for- 
ward, expecting to see the turrets of tall mansions 
spring up over the groves. But no. For hundreds of 
miles around no chimney sends forth its smoke. 
Although with a cultivated aspect, this region is only 
trodden by the mocassined foot of the hunter, and his 
enemy, the red Indian. 

These are the ' mottes ' — the ' islands' of the prairie 

sea. 

* * * * * i« 

I am in the deep forest. It is night, and the log 
fire throws cut its vermilion glare, painting the 
objects that surround our bivouac. Huge trunks 
stand thickly around us ; and massive limbs, grey and 
giant-like, stretch out and over. I notice the bark. 
It is cracked, and clings in broad scales crisping out- 
ward. Long snake-like parasites creep from tree to 
tree, coiling the trunks as though they were serpents, 
and would crush them ! There are no leaves over- 
head. They have ripened and fallen; but the wliitj 
Spanish moss, festooned along the branches, hangj 
weeping down like the drapery of a death-bed. 

Prostrate trunks, yards in diameter and half-de- 
cayed, lie along the ground. Their ends exhibit vast 
•cavities, where the porcupine and opossum have 
■taken shelter from the cold. 

My comrades, wrapped in their blankets, and 
stretched upon the dead leaves, have gone to sleep. 
They lie with their feet to the fire, and their heads 
resting in the hollow of their saddles. The horses, 
standing around a tree, and tied to its lower branches. 



THE WILD WEST. 13 

seem also to sleep. I am awake and listening. The 
wind is high up, whistling among the twigs, and 
causing the long white streamers to oscillate. It. 
utters a wild and melancholy music. There aro few 
other sounds, for it is winter, and the tree-frog am', 
cicada are silent. I hear the crackling knots in ths 
fire, the rustling of dry leaves ' swirled ' up by a stray 
gust, the ' coo-whoo-a ' of the white owl, the bark of 
the racoon, and, at intervals, the dismal howling of 
wolves. These are the nocturnal voices of the winter 
forest. They are savage sounds ; yet there is a chord 
in my bosom that vibrates under their influence, and 
my spirit is tinged with romance as I lie aDd listen. 

The forest in autumn ; still bearing its full frondage. 
The leaves resemble flowers, so bright are their hues. 
They are red, and yellow, and golden and brown. 
The woods are warm and glorious now, and the birds 
flutter among the laden branches. The eye wanders 
delighted down long vistas and over sunlit glades. It 
is caught by the flashing of gaudy plumage, the 
golden green of the paroquet, the blue of the jay, and 
the orange wing ot the oriole. The red-bird flutters 
lower down in the coppice of green pawpaws, or 
amidst the amber leaflets of the beechen thicket. 
Hundreds of tiny wings flit through the openings, 
twinkling in the sun like the glancing of gems. 

The air is filled with music : sweet sounds of love. 
The bark of the squiriel, the cooing of mated 
doves, the 'rat-ta-ta' of the pecker, and the constant 
and measured chirrup of the cicada, are all ringing 
together. High up, on a topmost twig, the mocking- 
bird pours forth his mimic note, as though he would 
shame all ether songsters into silence. 



14 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

I am in a country of brown barren earth and broken 
outlines. There are rocks, and clefts, and patches of 
eterile soil. Strange vegetable forms grow in the 
clefts and hang over the rocks. Others are spheroidal 
in shar>e, resting upon the surface of the parched 
earth. Others rise vertically to a great height, likfe 
carved and fluted columns. Some throw out branches, 
crooked shaggy branches, with hirsute oval leaves, 
Yet there is a homogeneousness about all these veget 
able forms, in their colour, in their fruit and flowers, 
that proclaims them of one family. They are cacti. 
It is a forest of the Mexican nopal. Another singular 
plant is here. It throws out long thorny leaves that 
curve downward. It is the agave, the far-famed 
mezcal-plant of Mexico. Here and there, mingling 
with the cacti, are trees of acacia and mezquite, the 
denizens of the desert land. No bright object relieves 
the eye ; no bird pours its melody into the ear. The 
lonely owl flaps away into the impassable thicket, the 
rattlesnake glides under its scanty shade, and the 

coyote skulks through its silent glades. 

* * * » * * 

I have climbed mountain after mountain, and still 1 
behold peaks soaring far above, crowned with the snow 
that never melts. I stand upon beetling cliffs, and look 
into chasms that yawn beneath, sleeping in the silence 
of desolation. Great fragments have fallen into them, 
;>nd lie piled one upon another. Others hang threaten- 
ing over, as if waiting for some concussion of the 
atmosphere to hurl them from their balance. Dark 
precipices frown me into fear, and my head reels with 
m dizzy faintness. I hold by the pine-tree shaft, or the 
angle of the firmer rock. 

Above, and below, and around me, are mountains 
piled on mountains in chaotic confusion. Some are 



VHE WILD WEST. 1ft 

bald and bleak ; others exhibit traces of vegetation in 
the dark needles of the pine and cedar, whose stunted 
forms half-grow, half-hang from the cliffs. Here, a 
cone-shaped peal: soars up till it is lost in snow and 
clouds. There, a ridge elevates its sharp outline 
against the sky ; while along its sides lie huge boulders 
of granite, as though they had been hurled frcm the 
hands of Titan giants ! 

A fearful monster, the grizzly bear, drags his body 
along the high ridges ; the carcajou squats upon the 
projecting rock, waiting the elk that must pass to the 
water below ; and the bighorn bounds from crag to 
crag in search of his shy mate. Along the pine brancli 
the bald buzzard whets his filthy beak ; and ti; e war- 
eagle, soaring over all, cuts sharply against the blue 
field of the heavens. 

These are the Eocky Mountains, the American 
Andes, the colossal vertebrae of the continent ! 

Such are the aspects of the wild west : such is the 
Bcenery of our drama. 

Let us raise the curtain, and bring on the characters. 



CHAPTEE II, 

THK r-RAlRIE MERCHANTS. 

•'New Orleans, April 3rd, 18— 
* Dear St. Vrain, 

' Our young friend, M. Henry Haller, 
goes to St. Louis in ' search of the picturesque.' See 
that he be put through a ' regular course of sprouts. 

' Yours, 

' Luis Walton. 
" Charles St. Vrain. Esq. Planters Hotel, St. Louis." 



16 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

"With this laconic epistle in my waistcoat pocket, I 
debarked at St. Louis on the 10th of April, and drove 
to the ' Planters.' 

Alter getting my baggage stowed, and my horse (a 
favourite I had brought with me) stabled, I put on a 
clean shirt : and descending to the ' office,' inquired 
for M. St. Train. 

He was not there. He had gone up the Missouri 
river, several days before. 

This was a disappointment, as I had brought no 
other introduction to St. Louis But I endeavoured 
to await with patience the return of M. St. Train. 
He was expected back in less than a week. 

Day after day I mounted my horse. I rode up to 
the ' Mounds ' and out upon the prairies. I lounged 
about the hotel, and smoked my cigar in its fine piazza. 
1 drank ' sherry cobblers ' in the saloon, and read the 
journals in the ' reading-room.' 

With these and such like occupations I killed time 
for three whole days. 

There was a party of gentlemen stopping at the 
hotel, who seemed to know each other well. I might 
call them a clique ; but that is not a good word, and 
does not express what I mean. They appeared 
rather a band of friendly jovial fellows. They strolled 
together through the streets, and sat side by side at 
the table-d'hote, where they usually remained long 
after the regular diners had retired. I noticed that 
they drank the most expensive wines, and smoked the 
finest cigars the house afforded. 

My attention was attracted to these men. I was 
struck with their peculiar bearing ; their erect, 
Indian-like carriage in the streets, combined with a 
boyish gaiety, so characteristic of the western 
American. 



THE PRAIRIE MERCHANTS. I', 

Tliey dressed nearly alike : in fine black cloth. 
White linen, satin vests, and diamond pins. They wore 
the whisker lull, but smoothly trimmed ; and several 
of them sported moustaches. Their hair fell curling 
over their shoulders ; and most of them wore their 
collars turned down, displaying healthy-looking, son- 
tanned throats. I was struck with a resemblance in 
their physiognomy. Their faces did not resemble 
each other ; but there was an unmistakeable similarity 
in the expression of the eye : no doubt, the mark that 
had been made by like occupations and experience. 

Were they sportsmen 1 No : the sportsman's hands 
are whiter ; there is more jewellery on his fingers : 
his waistcoat is of a gayer pattern, and altogether his 
dress will be more gaudy and super-elegant. More- 
over, the sportsman lacks that air of free-and-easy 
confidence. He dares not assume it. He may live it. 
the hotel, but he must be quiet and unobtrusive. The 
sportsman is a bird of prey ; hence, like all birds oi 
prey, his habits are silent and solitary. They are not 
of his profession. 

' Who are these gentlemen ?' 1 inquired from a 
person who sat by me — indicating to him the men o< 
whom I have spoken. 

' The prairie men.' 

' The prairie men !' 

' Yes : the Santa Fe traders.' 

' Traders !' I echoed, in some surprise, not being 
able to connect such elegants with any ideas of trade 
or the prairies. 

' Yes,' continued my informant. ' That large, fine- 
looking man in the middle is Bent — Bill Bent, as he is 
called. The gentleman on his right is young Sublette ; 
the other, standing on his left, is one of the Choteaug 
and that is the sob.'r Jerry Folger. 



18 THE SCALP-HUNTERS 

' These then are the celebrated prairie merchants * 

' Precisely so. 

I sat, eyeing them with increased curiosity. 1 
observed that they were looking at me, and that I was 
the subject of their conversation. 

Presently, one of them, a dashing-like young fellow, 
parted from the group, and walked up to me. 

' Were you inquiring for M. St. Vrain ?' he asked. 

' I was.' 

•Charles?' 

' Yes, that is the name' 

' I am ' 

I pulled out my note of introduction, and handed it 
to the gentleman, who glanced over its contents. 

'My dear friend,' said he, grasping me cordially 

devilish sorry I have not been here. I came down 

the river this morning. How stupid of "Walton not tG 

superscribe to Bill Bent! How long have you been 

up?' 

' Three days. I arrived on the 10th.' 

' By the Lord ! you are lost. Come, let me mako 
you acquainted. Here, Bent! Bill! Jerry! ■' 

And, the next moment, I had shaken hands with one 
and all of the traders, of which fraternity I found that 
my new friend St. Train was a member. 

' First gong that ?' asked one, as the loud scream of 
a gong came through the gallery. 

'Yes,' replied Bent, consulting his watcb, 'Just 
time to "licker." Come along!' 

Bent moved towards the saloon, and we all followed, 
nemine dissentiente. 

The spring season was setting in, and the young 
mint had sprouted : a botanical fact with which my 
new acquaintances appeared to be familiar, as one 
Riid all of the a ordered a 'mint julep.' This 



THE PRAIRIE MERCHANTS. 19 

beverage, in the mixing and drinking, occupied ou~ 
time until the second scream of the gong summoned us 
to dinner. 

' Sit with us, Mr. Haller,' said Bent ; ' I am sorry we 
didn't know you sooner. You have been lonely.' 

And so saying, he led the way into the dining-room, 
followed by his companions and myself. 

I need not describe a dinner at the Planters', with 
its venison steaks, its buffalo tongues, its ' prairie 
chickens,' and its delicious frog ' fixings ' from the 
Illinois ' bottom.' No. I would not describe the 
dinner, and what followed I am afraid I could not. 

We sat until we had the table to ourselves. Then 
the cloth was removed, and we commenced smoking 
regalias and drinking madeira at twelve dollars a bottle I 
This was ordered in by some one, not in single bottles, 
but by the half-dozen. I remember thus far well 
enough ; and that, whenever I took up a wine-card 
or a pencil, these articles were snatched out of my 
fingers. 

I remember listening to stories of wild adventures 
among the Pawnees, and the Cumanches, and the 
Blackfeet, until I was filled with interest, and became 
enthusiastic about prairie-life. Then some one asked 
me, would I not like to join them in ' a trip?' Upon 
this I made a speech, and proposed to accompany my 
new acquaintances on their next expedition ; and then 
St. Train said I was just the man for their life ; and 
this pleased me highly. Then some one sang a 
Spanish song, with a guitar, I think, and some one 
tilse danced an Indian war-dance ; and then we all 
rose to our feet, and chorused the ' Star-spangled 
Banner ;' and I remember nothing else after this, 
until next morning, when I remember well that I 
awoke with a splitting headache. 



20 THE SCALr-HUXTERS. 

1 had hardly time to reflect on my previous night's 
foEy when the door opened, and St. A'rain, with half- 
a-dozen of my table companions, rushed into the 
room. They were followed by a waiter, who carried 
several large glasses topped with ice, and filled with 
a pale amber-coloured liquid. 

'A sherry cobbler, Mr. Haller,' cried oae ; 'best 
thing in the world for you : drain it, my boy. It'll 
cool you in a squirrel's jump.' 

I drank off the refreshing beverage as desired. 

'Now, my dear friend,' said St. A'rain, 'you feel a 
hundred per cent, better! But, tell me, Avere you in 
earnest when you spoke of going with us across the 
plains ? "We start in a week ; I shall be sorry to 
part with you so soon.' 

' But I vjas in earnest. I am going with you, if you 
will only show me how I am to set about it ' 

' Nothing easier : buy yourself a horse.' 

' I have got one.' 

' Then a few coarse articles of dress, a rifle, a pah 
of pistols, a ■' 

' Stop, stop ! I have all these things. That is not 
what I would be at, but this : — You, gentlemen, carry 
goods to Santa Fe. You double, or treble, your money 
on them. Now I have ten thousand dollars in a bank 
here. What should hinder me to combine profit with 
pleasure, and invest it as you do ?' 

'Nothing; nothing! A good idea,' answered 
several. 

' Well, then, if any of you will have the goodness to 
go with me, and show me what sort of merchandise I 
am to lay in for the Santa Fe market, I will pay his 
wine bill at dinner, and that's no small commission, 1 
think.' 

The prairie men laughed loudly, declaring 



•THE PR A ERIE FEVER.' 21 

would all go a-shopping with mc ; and, after breakfast 
we started in a body, arm-in-arm. 

Before dinner, I had invested nearly all ray dis- 
j)osable funds in printed calicoes, long knives, and 
looking-glasses, leaving just money enough to purchase 
mule-waggons and hire teamsters at Independence, 
our point of departure for the ' plains.' 

A few days after, with my new companions, I was 
steaming it up the Missouri, on our way to the track- 
less prairies of the ' Far West.' 



CHAPTEll III. 



THE 'PRAIRIE FEVER. 



After a week spent in Independence buying mules 
and waggons, we took the route over the plains. 
There were a hundred waggons in the ' caravan,' and 
nearly twice that number of teamsters and attendants. 
Two of the capacious vehicles contained all my 
' plunder ;' and to manage them, I had hired a couple 
of lathy, long-haired Missourians. I had also engaged 
a Canadian voyageur named Gode\ as a sort of atten- 
dant or "Awpagnori . 

Where are the glossy gentlemen of the Planters' 
Hotel ? One would suppose they had been left behind, 
as here are none but men in hunting-shirts and slouch 
hats. Yes ; but under these hats we recognise their 
faces, and in these rude shirts we have the same 
jovial fellows as ever. The silky black and the 
diamonds have disappeared, for now the traders 
6eur'"sh 'inder the prairie costume. I will endeavour 



22 THE SCALP-HUNTEKS. 

to give an idea of the appearance of my companions 
by describing my own ; for I am ' tricked out ' very 
much like themselves. 

I wear a hunting-shirt of dressed deer-skin. It is a 
garment more after the style of an ancient tunic than 
anything I can think of. It is of a light yellow 
colour, beautifully stitched and embroidered ; and the 
cape, for it has a short cape, is fringed by tags cut 
out of the leather itself. The skirt is also bordered 
by a similar fringe, and hangs full and low. A pair of 
savers ' of scarlet cloth cover my limbs to the thigh ; 
and under these are strong jean pantaloons, heavy 
boots, and big brass spurs. A coloured cotton shirt, 
a blue neck-tie, and a broad-brimmed Guayaquil hat, 
complete the articles of my every-day dress. Behind 
me, on the cantle of my saddle, may be observed a 
bright red object folded into a cylindrical form. That 
is my ' Mackinaw,' a great favourite, for it makes my 
bed by night and my great coat on other occasions. 
There is a small slit in the middle of it, through which 
I thrust my head in cold or rainy weather ; and I am 
thus covered to the ankles. 

As I have said, my compwjnons de voyage are 
similarly attired. Tkere may be a difference of colour 
in the blanket or the leggings, or the shirt may be of 
other materials ; but that I have described may be 
taken as a ' character dress.'" 

We are all somewhat similarly armed and equipped 
For my part, I may say that I am ' armed to the 
teeth.' In my holsters I carry a pah- of Colt's large- 
sized revolvers, six shots each. In my belt is an- 
other pair of the small size, with five shots each. 
In addition, I have a light rifle, making in all 
twenty-three shots, which I have learnt to deliver iu 
as many seconds of time. Failing with all these, I 



• THE PRAIEIE FEVER.' 23 

carry in my belt a long shining blade kuown as a 
'bowie knife.' This last is my hunting knife, my 
dining knife, and in short my knife of ' all work.' For 
Accoutrements I have a pouch and a flask, both slung 
under the right arm. I have also a large gourd 
caateen, and haversack for my rations. So have all 
my companions. 

But "\ve are differently mounted. Some ride saddle 
mules, others bestride mustangs, while a few have 
brought their favourite American horses. I am of 
this number. I ride a dark-brown stallion with black 
legs, and muzzle like the withered fern. He is a hall 
Arab, and of perfect proportions. He is called 
' Moro,' a Spanish name given him by the Louisiana 
planter from whom 1 bought him, but why I do not 
know. I have retained the name and he answers to 
it readily. He is strong, fleet, and beautiful. Many 
of my friends fancy him on the route, and offer largo 
prices for him ; but these do not tempt me, for my 
Moro serves me well. Every day I grow more and 
more attached to him. My dog Alp, a St. Bernard 
that I bought from a Swiss emigre in St. Louis, hardly 
comes in for a tithe of my affections. 

I find on referring to my note-book, that for weeks 
we travelled over the prairies without any incident of 
unusual interest. To me the scenery was interest 
enough ; and I do not remember a more striking 
picture than to see the long caravan of waggons, the 
'prairie ships,' deployed over the plain, or crawling 
slowly up some gentle slope, their white tilts con- 
trasting beautifully with the deep green of the earth. 
At night, too, the camp, with its corralled waggons, 
and horses picketed around, was equally a picture. 
The scenery was altogether new to me, and imbued 
vac with impressions of a peculiar character. The 



24 THE SCALr-HUNTKKS. 

Btreaus were fringed with tall groves of Cottonwood 
trees, whose column-like stems supported a thick 
frondage of silvery leaves. These groves meeting at 
different points, walled in the view, so dividing the 
prairies from one another that we seemed to travel 
through vast fields fenced by colossal hedges. 

We crossed many rivers, fording some, and floating 
our waggons over others that were deeper and wider. 
Occasionally we saw deer and antelope, and our 
hunters shot a few of these ; but we had not yet 
reached the range of the buffalo. Once we stopped 
a day to recruit in a wooded 'bottom,' where the 
grass was plenty and the water pure. Now and 
then, too, we were halted to mend a broken tongue 
or an axle, or help a ' stalled ' waggon from its miry 
bed. 

I had very little trouble with my particular divi- 
sion of the caravan. My Missourians turned out to 
be a pair of staunch hands, who could assist one 
another without making a desperate affair of every 
slight accident. 

The grass had sprung up, and our mules and oxen, 
instead of thinning down, every day grow fatter 
upon it. More, therefore, came in for a better share 
of the maize that I had brought in my waggons, and 
which kept my favourite in fine travelling condition. 

As we approached the Arkansas, we saw mounted 
Indians disappearing over the swells. They were 
Pawnees ; and for several days clouds of these dusky 
warriors hung upon the skirts of the caravan. But 
they knew our strength, and kept at a wary distance 
from our long rifles. 

To me every day brought something new, either in 
the incidents of the ' voyage ' or the features of the 
landscape. 



IHE PRAIRIE FEVEB. 25 

Gode, who had been by turns a voyageur, a hunter 
a trapper, and a coureur du bois, in our private dia- 
logues had given me an insight into many an 
item of prairie-craft, thus enabling me to cut quite a 
respectable figure among my new comrades. St. 
Vrain, too, whose frank generous manner had already 
won my confidence, spared no pains to make the trip 
agreeable to me. What with gallops by day, and tha 
wilder tales by the night watch-fires, I became in- 
toxicated with the romance of my new life, i" had 
caught the ' prairie-fever ! ' 

So my companions told me, laughing. I did not 
understand them then. I knew what they meant 
afterwards. The prairie fever ! Yes. I was just 
then in process of being inocculated by that strange 
disease. It grew upon me apace. The dreams of 
home began to die within me ; and with these the 
illusory ideas of many a young and foolish ambition. 
Died away, too, dead out of my heart, the allure- 
ments of the great city, the memory of soft eyes and 
fiilken tresses, the impress of amorous emotions, foes 
to human happiness ; all died away, as if they had 
never been, or I had never felt them ! 

My strength increased, both physically and in- 
tellectually. I experienced a buoyancy of spirits 
and a vigour of body I had never known before. I 
felt a pleasure in action. My blood seemed to rush 
warmer and swifter through my veins, and I farcied 
that my eyes reached to a more distant vision I 
could look boldly upon the sun without quivering in 
my glance. 

Had I imbibed a portion of the divine essence 
that lives, and moves, and has its being in those vast 
solitudes ? 

Who can answer this ? 



£6 THE SCAlP-nUi.'TEIS. 

The prairie fever! I feel it now! Whilst I am 
penning these memories, my fingers twitch to grasp 
the reins, my knees quiver to press the sides of my 
noble horse, and wildly wander over the verdant 
billows of the prairie sea ! 



CHAPTEE IT 

A EIEE UPOS A BUFFALO ECU.. 

We had oeen out about two weeks when we struck 
the Arkansas 'bend,' about sis miles below the 
'Plum Euttes.' Here our waggons corralled and 
camped. 

So far we had seen but little of the buffalo ; only 
a stray bull, or at most two or three together, and 
these shy. It was now the ' running season,' but 
none of the great droves, love-maddened, had crossed 
us. 

'Yonder!' cried St. Train ; 'fresh hump for supper!' 

We looked north-west, as indicated by our friend. 
Along the escarpment of a low table, five dark ob- 
jects broke the line of the horizon. A glance was 
enough : they were buffaloes. 

As St. Train spoke, we were about slipping off our 
saddles. Back went the girth buckles with a ' sneck,' 
down came the stirrups, up went we, and off in the 
twinkling of a goat's eye.' 

Half-a-score or so started ; some, like myself, for 
( he sport ; while others, old hunters, had the ' meat ' 
in their eye. 

We had made but a short day s march ; our horses 
were still fresh, and in three times as many minutes, 



A RIDE UPON A BUFFALO BULL. 'Zi 

the three miles that lay between us and the game 
were reduced to one. Here, however, we were 
' winded.' Some of the party, like myself, green upon 
the prairies, disregarding advice, had ridden straight 
ahead ; and the bulls snuffed us on the wind. Wber 
within a mile, one of them threw up his shaggy- 
front, snorted, struck the ground with his hoof, rolled 
over, rose up again, and dashed off at full speed, fol- 
lowed by his four companions. 

It remained to us now either to abandon the chase 
or put our horses to their mettle and 'catch up.' 
The latter course was adopted, and we galloped for- 
ward. All at once we found ourselves riding up to 
what appeared to be a clay wall, six feet high. It 
was a stair between two tables, and ran right and left 
as far as the eye could roach, without the semblance 
of a gap. 

This was an obstacle that caused us to rein up and 
reflect. Some wheeled their horses, and commenced 
-ding back, while half-a-dozen of us, better mounted, 
among whom were St. Train and my voyageur Gode, 
-.ot wishing to give up the chase so easily, put to the 
spur, and cleared the scarp. 

Prom this point it cost us a five miles' gallop, and 
our horses a white sweat, to come, up with the hind- 
most, a young cow, which fell, bored by a bullet from 
every rifle in the party. 

As the others had gained some distance ahead, and 
we had meat enough for all, we reined up ; and dis- 
mounting, set about ' removing the hair.' This opera- 
tion was a short one under the skilful knives of the 
hunters. AVo had now leisure to look back, and cal- 
culate the distance we had ridden from camp. 

' Eight miles, every inch !' cried one. 

'"We're close to the trail,' said St. Vrain, pointing 

c li 



*3 THE SCALF-IIUNTKKS. 

to some old waggon tracks that marked the route of 
the Santa Fe traders. 

' Well T 

' If we ride into camp, we shall have to ride back in 
the morning. It will bo sixteen extra miles for our 
cattle.' 

' True.' 

' I /et us stay here, then. Here's water and gratis. 
There's buffalo meat ; and yonder's a waggon load of 
" chips." AVe have our blankets : what more do we 
want ?' 

' I say, camp where we are.' 

« And I.' 

'And I.' 

In a minute the girth buckles flew open, our saddles 
were lifted off, and our panting horses were cropping 
the curly bunches of the prairie grass, within the 
circles of their cdbriestos. 

A crystal rivulet, the 'arroyo' of the Spaniards, 
6tole away southward to the Arkansas. On the bank 
of this rivulet, and under one of its bluffs, we chose a 
Spot for our bivouac. The hois de vache was collected, 
i fire was kindled, and 'hump steaks,' spitted on 
cticks, were soon sputtering in the blaze. Luckily, 
St. Train and 1 had our flasks along ; and as each of 
&iem contained a pint of pure Cognac, we managed to 
make a tolerable supper. The old hunters had their 
pipes and tobacco, my friend and I our cigars, and we 
sat round the ashes till a late hour, smoking and 
Jstening to wild tales of mountain adventure. 

At length the watch was told off, the lariats were 
shortened, the picket-pins driven home, and my 
comrades rolling themselves up in their blankets, 
rested their heads in the hollow of their saddles, aiid 
went to sleep. 



A RIDE UPON A BUFFALO BULL. 2$ 

There was a man named Hibbets in our party, who, 
from his habits of somnolency, had earned the 
soubriquet of 'Sleepy-head.' For this reason, the 
first watch had been assigned to him, being the least 
dangerous, as Indians seldom made their attacks until 
the hour of soundest sleep : that before daybreak. 

Hibbets had climbed to his post, the top of the 
bluff, where he could command a view of the sur- 
rounding prairie. 

Before night had set in, I had noticed a very beau- 
tiful spot on the bank of the arroyo, about two 
hundred yards from where my comrades lay. A 
eudden fancy came into my head to sleep there ; and 
taking up my rifle, robe, and blanket, at the same 
time calling to ' Sleepy-head ' to awake me in case of 
alarm, I proceeded thither. 

The ground, shelving gradually down to the arroyo 
was covered with soft buffalo grass, thick and dry ; as 
good a bed as was ever pressed by sleepy mortal. 
On this I spread my robe, and folding my blanket 
around me, lay down, cigar in mouth, to smoke 
myself asleep. 

It was a lovely moonlight, so clear that I could 
easily distinguish the colours of the prairie flowers : 
the silver euphorbias, the golden sunflowers, and the 
scarlet malvas, that fringed the banks of the arroyo at 
my feet. There was an enchanting stillness in the 
air, broken only by an occasional whine from tho 
prairie wolf, the distant snoring of my companions, 
and tho 'crop, crop' of our horses shortening tho 
crisp grass. 

I lay a good while awake, until my cigar burnt up 
to my lips (we smoke them close on the prairies) ; 
then, spitting out the stump, I turned over on m/ 
side, and was soon in the land of dreams. 



SO THE SCALP -HUNTERS. 

I could not have been asleep many minutes when 1 
felt sensible of a strange noise, like distant thunder, 
or the roaring of a waterfall. The ground seemed to 
tremble beneath me. 

' We are going to have a dash of a thunder-shower,' 
thought I, still half dreaming, half sensible to im- 
pressions from without ; and I drew the folds of my 
blanket closer about me, and again slept. 

I was awakened by a noise like thunder indeed : 

' like the trampling of a thousand hoofs, and the lowing 

of a thousand oxen ! The earth echoed and trembled. 

I could hear the shouts of my comrades : the voices 

of St. Train and Gode, the latter calling out — 

' Sacr-r-re! monsieur; prencz garde des bujfies!' 

I saw that they had drawn the horses, and wero 
hurrying them under the bluff. 

I sprang to my feet, flinging aside my blanket. A 
fearful spectacle was before me. Away to the west, 
as far as the eye could reach, the prairie seemed in 
motion. Black waves rolled over its undulating out- 
lines, as though some burning mountain were pouring 
down its lava upon the plains. A thousand bright 
spots flashed and flitted along the moving surface like 
jets of fire. The ground shook, men shouted, horses 
reared upon their ropes, neighing wildly. My dog 
baiked and howled, running around me ! 

For a moment I thought I was dreaming ; but no, 
the scene was too real to be mistaken for a vision. 
I saw the border of the black wave within ten paces 
">f me, and still approaching ! Then, and not till 
hen, did I recognise the shaggy crests and glaring 
eyeballs of the buffalo ! 

' Oh, God ; I am in their track. I shall be trampled 
to death !' 

It was too late to attempt an escape by running 



A RIDE UPON A BUFFALO BULL. SI 

1 seized my rifle and fired at the foremost of the band. 
The effect of my shot was not perceptible. The water 
of the arroyo was dashed in my face. A huge bull 
ahead of the rest, furious and snorting, plunged 
through the stream, and up the slope. I was lifted 
and tossed high into the air. I was thrown rear- 
wards, and fell upon a moving mass. I did not feel 
hurt or stunned. I felt myself carried onward upon 
the backs of several animals that, in the dense drove, 
ran close together. These, frightened at their strange 
burden, bellowed loudly, and dashed on to the front. 
A sudden thought struck me : and, fixing on that 
which was most under me, I dropped my legs astride 
of him, embracing his hump, and clutching the long 
woolly hair that grew upon his neck. The animal 
' routed ' with extreme terror ; and, plunging forward, 
soon headed the band. 

This was exactly what I wanted ; and on we went 
over the prairie, the bull running at top speed, believ- 
ing, no doubt, that he had a panther or a catamount 
between his shoulders. 

I had no desire to disabuse him of this belief; and, 
lest he should deem me altogether harmless, and come 
to a halt, I slipped out my bowie, which happened to 
be ' handy,' and pricked him up whenever he showed 
symptoms of lagging. At every fresh touch of the 
' spur ' he roared out, and ran forward at a redoubled 
pace. 

My danger was still extreme. The drove was 
coming on behind with the front of nearly a mile. I 
could not have cleared it had the bull stopped and 
left me on the prairie. 

Notwithstanding the peril I was in, I could not 
resist laughing at my ludicrous situation I felt as 
ouo does when looking at a good comedy. 



B2 THE SCALF-HUN'TEES. 

We struck through a village of ' prairie dogs.' Here 
I fancied the animal was about to turn and run back 
This brought my mirth to a sudden pause ; but the 
buffalo usually runs in a ' bee line,' and fortunately 
mine made no exception to the law. On he went, 
sinking to the knees, kicking the dust from the conical 
hills, snorting and bellowing with rage and terror. 

The ' Plum Buttes ' were directly in the line of our 
course. I had seen this from the start, and knew that 
if I could reach them I would be safe. They wer& 
nearly three miles from the bluff where wo had 
bivouacked, but in my ride I fancied them ten. 

A small one rose over the prairie, several hundred 
yards nearer than the main heights. Towards this 1 
pricked the foaming bull in a last stretch, and he 
brought me cleverly within a hundred yards of its 
base. 

It was now time to take leave of my dusky com- 
panion. I could have slaughtered him as I leaned 
over his back. My knife rested upon the most vulner- 
able part of his huge body. No ! I would not have 
slain that buffalo for the Koh-i-noor. 

Untwisting my fingers from his thick fleece, I slipped 
down over his tail, and without as much as saying 
' Good-night !' ran with all my speed towards the 
knoll. I climbejl up ; and sitting down upon a loose 
boulder of rock, looked over the prairie. 

The moon was still shining brightly. My late com- 
panion had halted not far from where I had left hinw 
and stood glaring back with an air of extreme bewil- 
derment. There was something so comical in the sight 
that I yelled with laughter as I sat securely on my 
perch. 

T looked to the south-west. As far as the eye could 
see, the prairie was black, and moving. The living 



A RIDE UPOX A BUFFALO DULL. 33 

wave came rolling onward and toward me ; but I 
could now observe it in safety. The myriads oi 
glancing eyes, sparkling like phosphoric gleams, uo 
ionger flashed terror. 

The drove was still half-a-mile distant. I thought 
I saw quick gleams, and heard the report of fire-arms 
away over its left border ; but I could not be certain. 
I had begun to think of the fate of my comrades, and 
this gave me hopes that they were safe. 

The buffaloes approached the butte on which I was^ 
seated ; and, perceiving the obstacle, suddenly forked 
into two great belts, and swept right and left around 
it. What struck me at this moment as curious was, 
that my bull, my particular bull, instead of waiting 
till his comrades had come up, and falling in among 
the foremost, suddenly tossed up his head, and galloped 
off as if a pack of wolves had been after him. He ran 
towards the outside of the band. When he ha..! 
reached a point that placed him fairly beyond the 
iiank, I could see him closing in, and moving on with 
the rest. 

This strange tactic of my late companion puzzled 
me at the time, but I afterwards learned that it was 
sound strategy on his part. Had he remained where 
I had parted with him, the foremost bulls coming up 
would have mistaken him for an individual of some 
other tribe, and would certainly have gored him to 
death. 

I sat upon the rock tcr nearly two hours, sileniJy 
watching the sable stream as it poured past. I was 
on an island in the midst of a black and glittering sea. 
At one time I fancied T was moving, that the butte 
was sailing onward, and the buffaloes were standing 
still. My head swam with dizziness, and I leaped to 
oiy feet to drive away the strange illusion. 



54 THK SCALP-flTTNTERS. 

The torrent rolled onward, and at length the hind- 
ciost went straggling past. I descended from the 
knoll, and commenced groping my way over tho 
bfack, trodden earth. "What was lately a green sward 
now presented the aspect of ground freshly ploughed, 
and trampled by droves of oxen. 

A number of white animals, resembling a flock of 
sheep, passed near me. They were wolves hanging 
upon the skirts of the herd. 

I pushed on, keeping to the southward. At length 
1 heard voices ; and, in the clear moonlight, could see 
several horsemen galloping in circles over the plain. 
I shouted ' Halloa !' A voice answered mine, and one 
of the horsemen came galloping up : it, was St. Vrain. 

'Why, Lord bless me, Haller !' cried he, reining up, 
and bending from his saddle to get a better view 01 
me, ' is it you or your ghost ? As I sit here, it's the 
man himself, and alive !' 

' Xever in better condition,' I replied. 

'But where did you come from? the clouds? the 
sky ? where ?' And his questions were echoed by tho 
others, who at this moment were shaking me by the 
hand, as if they had not seen me for a twelvemonth. 

Gode seemed to be the most perplexed man of the 
party. 

' Mon Bieu ! run over ; tramp by von million dam 
buffles, et ne pas mort ! 'Cr-r-re matin !' 

'We were hunting for your body, or rather the 
fragments of it,' said St. Vrain. ' We had searched 
every foot of the prairie for a mile round, and had 
almost come to the conclusion that the fierce brutes 
had eaten you up.' 

' Eat monsieur up ! No ! tre million buffles no him 
eat. Mon Dieu ! Ha, Sleephead, pe dam !' 

This exclamation of the Canadian was addressed to 



rx A BAD ' FIX. 36 

Hfbbets, •who had failed to warn my comrades ol 
where I lay, and thus placed me in such a dangerous 
predicament. 

' Wo saw you tossed in the air,' continued St. Train, 
"and fall right into the thick of them. Then, ol 
course, we gave you up. But how, in heaven's name, 
have you got clear ?' 

I related my adventure to my wondering comrades. 

' Par DieuV cried Gode, ' un garcon tres bizarre: une 
aventure tres-rnerveilleuse !' 

From that hour I was looked upon as a ' captain 
on the prairies. 

My comrades had made good work of it, as a dozen 
dark objects that lay upon the plain testified. They 
had found my rifle and blankets, the latter trodden 
into the earth. 

St. Train had still a few drops in his flask ; and 
after swallowing these, and again placing the guard, 
we returned to our prairie couches and slept out the 
night. 



CHAPTER V. 

IN A BAD 'FIX.' 

A few days afterwards, another 'adventure' befel 
me ; and I began to think that I was destined to 
become a hero among the ' mountain men.' 

A small party of the traders, myself among the 
number, had pushed forward ahead of the caravan. 
Our object vas to arrive at Santa Fe a day or two 
before the waggons, in order to have everything 
arranged with the governor for their entrance into 
that capital. IVe took the route bv the Cimmaron. 



36 TITE SOAU-HUNTERS. 

Our road, fc r a hundred miles or so, lay through a 
barren desert, without game, and almost without 
water. The tmffalo had already disappeared, and 
deer were equally scarce. We had to content our- 
selves with the dried meat which we had broughf 
from the settlements. "We were in the deserts of the 
artemisia. Now and then we could see a stray ante- 
lope bounding away before us, but keeping far out of 
range. They, too, seemed to be unusually shy. 

On the third day after leaving the caravan, as we 
were riding near the Oimmaron, I thought I observed 
a pronged head disappearing behind a swell in the 
prairie. My companions were sceptical, and none ot 
them would go with me ; so, wheeling out of the trail, 
I started alone. One of the men, for Gode was behind, 
kept charge of my dog, as I did not choose to take 
him with me, lest he might alarm the antelopes. My 
horse was fresh and willing ; and whether successful 
or not, I knew that I could easily overtake the party 
by camping-time. 

I struck directly towards the spot where I had seen 
the object. It appeared to be only half-a-mile or so 
from the trail. It proved more distant: a common 
illusion in tiie crystal atmosphere of these upland 
regions. 

A curiously-formed ridge, a coutenu des prairies on a 
small scale, traversed the plain from east to west. A 
thicket of cactus covered part of its summit. Towards 
ihis thicket I directed myself. 

I dismounted at the bottom of the slope, and leading 
my horse silently up among the cacti plants, tied him 
to one of their branches. I then crept cautiously 
through the thorny leaves towards the point where 1 
fancied I had seen the game. To my joy, not ono 
antelope, bnt a brace of those beautiful animals wa* 



Hi A BAD IVX 3? 

quietly grazing beyond ; but, alas ! too far cff for the 
range of my rifle. They were fully three hundred 
yards distant, upon a smooth, grassy slope. There 
was not even a sage bush to cover me, should 
I attempt to ' approach ' them. What was to be 
done? 

I lay for several minutes, thinking over the different 
tricks known in hunter-craft for taking the antelope. 
Should I imitate their call ? Should I hoist my hand- 
kerchief, and try to lure them up ? I saw that they 
were too shy ; for, at short intervals, they threw up 
their graceful heads and looked inquiringly around 
them. I remembered the red blanket on my saddle. 
I could display this upon the cactus bushes ; perhaps 
it would attract them. 

I had no alternative ; and was turning to go back 
for the blanket, when, all at once, my eye rested upon 
a clay-coloured line running across the prairie beyond 
where the animals were feeding. It was a break in 
the surface of the plain, a buffalo road, or the channel 
of an arroyo : in either case the very cover T wanted ; 
for the animals were not a hundred yards from it, and 
were getting still nearer to it as they fed. 

Creeping back out of the thicket, I ran along the 
side of the slope towards a point where I had noticed 
that the ridge was depressed to the prairie level. 
Here, to my surprise, I found myself on the banks of 
a broad arroyo, whose water, clear and shallow, ran 
slowly over a bed of sand and gypsum. 

The banks were low, not over three feet above the 
surface of the water, except where the ridge impinged 
upon the stream. Here there was a high bluff ; and, 
hurrying round its base, I entered the channel, and 
commenced wading upward. 

As T hao. anticipated, J socn came to «i bend where 



18 THE SCALP-HU:fTEES. 

Uie stream, after running paral'.el to the ridge, swept 
roand and caiioned through it. At this place 1 
Btopped, and looked cautiously over the bank. The 
antelopes had approached within less tban rifle range 
of the arroyo ; but they were yet far above my posi- 
tion. They were still quietly feeding and unconscious 
Of danger. I again bent down, and waded on. 

It was a difficult task proceeding in this way. The 
I)6il of tho creek was soft and yielding, and I was 
compelled to tread slowly and silently lest I should 
alarm the game ; but I was cheered in my exertiono 
by the prospect of fresh venison for my supper. 

After a weary drag of several hundred yards, i 
came opposite to a small clump of wormwood bushe> 
growing out of the bank. ' I may be high enough 
thought I ; ' these will serve for cover.' 

I raised my body gradually until I could seothrougi 
tho leaves. I was in the right spot. 

I brought my rifle to a level, sighted for the heart 
of the buck, and fired. The animal leaped from the 
ground, and fell back lifeless. 

I was about to rush forward and secure my prize, 
when I observed the doe, instead of running off as I 
had expected, go up to her fallen partner and press 
her tapering nose to his body. She was not moro 
than twenty yards from me ; and I could plainly see 
that her look was one of inquiry and bewilderment. 
All at once she seemed to comprehend the fatal truth ; 
and throwing back her head, commenced uttering the 
most piteous cries, at the same time running in circles 
around the body. 

I stood wavering between two minds. My first im- 
pulse had been to reload and kill the doe ; but her 
plaintive voice entered my heart, disarming me of all 
hostile intentions. Had I dreamt of witnessing this 



Cs £ BAD 'FIX.' 3* 

painful spectacle, I shonld not have left the trail. 
But the mischief was now dons. ' I have worse than 
killed her,' thought I ; ' it will be better to despatch 
her at once.' 

Actuated by these principles of a common, but to 
her fatal, humanity, I rested the butt of my rifle and 
reloaded. With a faltering hand I again levelled the 
piece and fired. 

My nerves were steady enough to do the work. 
When the smoke floated aside, I could see the little 
creature bleeding upon the grass, her head resting 
against the body of her murdered mate. 

I shouldered my rifle, and was about to move 
forward, when, to my astonishment, I found that I was 
caught by the feet. I was held firmly, as if my legs 
had been screwed in a vice ! 

I made an effort to extricate myself ; another, more 
violent, and equally unsuccessful ; and, with a third, I 
lost my balance, and fell back upon the water. 

Half-suffocated, I regained my upright position, but 
only to find that I was held as fast as ever. 

Again I struggled to free my limbs. I could neither 
move them backward nor forward, to the right nor to 
the left ; and I became sensible that I was gradually 
going down. Then the fearful truth flashed upon me : 
/ ivas sinking in a quicksand. 

A feeling of horror came over me. I renewed my 
efforts with the energy of desperation. I leant to one 
Hide, then to the other, almost wrenching my knees 
from their sockets. My feet remained fast as ever. I 
could not move them an inch, 

The soft clinging sand already overtopped my horse- 
skin boots, wedging them around my ankles, so that I 
was unable to draw them off; and I could feel that I 
was still sinking;, slowly but surely, as though soma 



40 THE SCALP-nUNTElH. 

subterranean monster were leisurely dragging mo 
down ! This very thought caused me a fresh thrill of 
horror, and I called aloud for help. To whom? 
There was no one within miles of me : no living thing. 
Yes ! the neigh of my horse answered me from the 
lull, mocking my despair. 

I bent forward as well as my constrained position 
would permit, and, with frenzied fingers, commenced 
tearing up the sand. I could barely reach the surface ; 
and the little hollow I was able to make filled up 
almost as soon as it had been formed. 

A thought occurred to me. My rifle might support 
me placed horizontally. I looked around for it. It 
was not to be seen. It had sunk beneath the sand. 

Could I throw my body fiat, and prevent myself 
from sinking deeper? No. The water was two feet 
in depth. I should drown at once. 

This last hope left me as soon as formed. I could 
Aink of no plan to save myself. I could make no 
further effort. A strange stupor seized upon me. My 
very thoughts became paralysed. I knew that I was 
going mad. For a moment I was mad ! 

After an interval my senses returned. I made an 
effort to rouse my mind from its paralysis, in order 
that I might meet death, which I now believed to be 
certain, as a man should. 

I stood erect. My eyes had sunk to the prairie 
level, and rested upon the still bleeding victims of my 
cruelty. My heart smote me at the sight. Was I 
Euffering a retribution of God ? 

With humble and penitent thoughts I turned my 
face to heaven, almost dreading that some sign of 
omnipotent anger would scowl upon me from above. 
But no ! The sun was shining as brightly as ever, and 
the blue canopy of the world was without a cloud. 



IN A BAD ' FIX. 41 

1 gazed upward, and prayed with an earnestness 
known only to the hearts of men in positions of peril 
like mine. 

As I continued to look up, an object attracted my 
attention. Against the sky I distinguished the out 
lines of a large bird. I knew it to be the obscene 
bird of the plains, the buzzard vulture. "Whence 
had it come ? Who knows ? Far beyond the reach oi 
human eye it had seen or scented the slaughtered 
antelopes, and on broad silent wing was now descend- 
ing to the feast of death. 

Presently another, and another, and many others, 
mottled the blue field of the heavens, curving and 
wheeling silently earthward. Then the foremost 
swooped down upon the bank, and after gazing around 
for a moment, flapped off towards its prey. 

In a few seconds the prairie was black with filthy 
birds, which clambered over the dead antelopes, and 
beat their wings against each other, while they tore 
out the eyes of the quarry with their fetid beaks. 

And now came gaunt wolves, sneaking and hungry, 
stealing out of the cactus thicket, and loping, coward- 
like, over the green swells of the prairie. These, after 
a battle, drove away the vultures, and tore up the 
prey, all the while growling and snapping vengefully 
at each other. 

' Thank heaven ! I shall at least be saved from this !' 

I was soon relieved from the sight. My eyes had 
sunk below the level of the bank. I had looked my 
last on the fair green earth. I could now see only the 
clayey walls that contained the river, and the water 
that ran unheeding by me. 

Once more I fixed my gaze upon the sky, and with 
prayerful heart endeavoured to resign myself to my 
fato. 



42 THE SCALP-HUNTKRS. 

In spite of my efforts to be calm, the memories of 
earthly pleasures, and friends, and home, came over 
me, causing rne, at intervals, to break into wild 
paroxysms, and make fresh though fruitless struggles. 

Again I was attracted by the neighing of my horse. 

A thought entered my mind, filling me with fresh 
hopes. ' Perhaps my horse ' 

I lost not a moment. I raised my voice to its 
highest pitch, and called the animal by name. I knew 
that he would come at my call. I had tied him but 
6lightly. The cactus limb would snap off. I called 
again, repeating words that were well known to him. 
I listened with a bounding heart. For a moment there 
was silence. Then I heard the quick sounds of his 
hoofs, as though the animal were rearing and 
struggling to free himself. Then I could distinguish 
the stroke of his heels in a measured and regular 
gallop. 

Nearer came the sounds ; nearer and clearer, until 
the gallant brute appeared upon the bank above me. 
There he halted, and, flinging back his tossed mane, 
uttered a shrill neigh. He was bewildered, and looked 
to every side, snorting loudly. 

I knew that having once seen me he would not stop 
until ho had pressed his nose against my cheek, for 
this was his usual custom. Holding out my hands, I 
again uttered the magic words. 

Now glancing downward he perceived me, and 
stretching himself, sprang out into the channel. The 
next moment I held him by the bridle. 

There was no time to be lost. I was still going 
down ; and my armpits were fast nearing the surface 
of the quicksand. 

I caught the lariat, and passing it under the saddle- 
girths, fastened it in a tight firm knot. I then looped 



iJi A 13AD ' FIX.' 43 

the trailing end, making it secure around my body. 1 
had loft enough of the rope, between the bit-ring and 
the girths, to enable me to check and guide the 
animal, in case the drag upon my body should be too 
painful. 

All this while the dumb brute seemed to comprehend 
what I was about. He knew, too, the nature of the 
ground on which he stood, for during the operation he 
kept lifting his feet alternately to prevent himseli 
from sinking. 

My arrangements were at length completed ; and 
with a feeling of terrible anxiety, I gave my horse the 
signal to move forward. Instead of going off with a 
start, the intelligent animal stepped away slowly, as 
though he understood my situation. The lariat 
tightened, I felt my body moving, and the next 
moment experienced a wild delight, a feeling T 
cannot describe, as I found myself dragged out of the 
sand! 

I sprang to my feet with a shout of joy. I rushed 
up to my steed, and throwing my arms around his 
neck, kissed him with as much delight as I would 
have kissed a beautiful girl. Ho answered my 
embrace with a low whimper, that told me I was 
understood. 

I looked for my rifle. Fortunately it had not sunk 
deeply, and I soon found it. My boots were behind 
me, but I stayed not to look for them, being smitten 
with a wholesome dread of the place where I had left 
them. 

I was not long in retreating from the arroyo ; and 
mounting, I galloped back to the trail. 

It was sundown before I reached camp, where I 
was met by the inquiries of my wondering companions. 
' Did you come across the " goats ?" ' ' Where's 

j) 2 



ti THE SCALP-HUNTED. 

your boots?' 'Whether have you been hunting or 
fishing ? 

I answered all these questions by relating my ad ven- 
tures ; and that night I was again the hero of the 
camp-fire. 



CHAPTEE YI. 



SANTA FE. 



After a week's climbing through the Eocky Moun 
tains, we descended into the valley of the Del Norte, 
and arrived at the capital of New Mexico, the far- 
famed Santa Fe. Next day the caravan itself came in, 
for we had lost time on the southern route ; and the 
waggons travelling by the Eaton Pass, had made & 
good journey of it. 

We had no difficulty about their entrance into the 
country, with the proviso that we paid five hundred 
dollars of Alcavala tax upon each waggon. This was 
a greater extortion than usual ; but the traders were 
compelled to accept the impost. 

Santa Fe is the entrepot of the province, .and the 
chief seat of its trade. On reaching it we halted, 
' camping ' without the walls. 

St. Train, several other proprietaires, and myself, 
took up our quarters at the Fonda, where we en- 
deavoured, by means of the sparkling vintage of El 
Paso, to make ourselves oblivious of the hardships we 
had endured in the passage of the plains. 

The night of our arrival was given to feasting and 
making merry. 

Next morning I was awa.kened by the voice of my 
man Gode, who appeared to be in high spirits, singing 
* snatch of a Canadian boat-song. 



SA-NTA it. 45 

'Ah, monsieur!' cried lie, seeing me awake, 'to- 
night — aujourd'hui — une grande fonction — one bal — 
vat le dam Mexicain lie call fandango. Tres bien, mon- 
sieur. You vill sure have grand plaisir to see un 
fandango Mexicain?' 

' Not I, Gode. My countrymen are not so fond of 
dancing as yours.' 

' C'est vrai, monsieur ; but von fandango is tres cn- 
rieux. You sail see ver many sort of de pas. Bolero, 
ct valse, wis de Coona, and ver many more pas, all 
mix up in von puchero. Allons ! monsieur, you vill 
see ver many pretty girl, avec les yeux tres noir, and 
ver short — ah, pe Gar ! ver short— vat you call em in 
Americaine ?' — 

I do not know what you allude to.' 
Cela ! Zis, monsieur,' holding out the skirt of Iim 
hunting-shirt ; ' par Dieu ! now I have him — petticoes : 
ver short petticoes. Ah, pe Gar! you sail see vat 
you sail see en un fandango Mcxicainc. 

Las ninas de Dnrang-o 

Conrnigo bailandas, 

Al cielo saltandas, 
En el fandango — en el fan-dang — o. 

' Ha ! here comes Monsieur St. Vrain. Ecoutez ! 
He never not go to fandango. Sacre ! how monsieur 
dance ! like un maitre de ballet. Mais he be de sangre 
—blood Francais. Ecoutez 1 

A\ cielo saltandas, 
En el fandango— en el fan-dang " 

'Ha! Gode!' 

' Monsieur ?' 

' Trot over to the cantina, and beg, borrow, buy, or 
steal a bottle of the best Paso.' 

' Sail I try steal 'im, Monsieur St. Train ?' inquired 
Gode, with a knowing grin. 



S6 THE SCALP-HUXTEKS. 

'No, yon old Canadian thief! pay for it. There's 
the money. Best Paso, do you hear ? cool and' spark- 
ling. Now, vaya ! Bon jour, my bold rider of buffalo 
bulls ! Still abed, I see.' 

' My bead aches as if it would split.' 

' Ha, ha, ha ! so does mine ; but Gode's gone for 
medicine. Hair of the dog good for the bite. ComOj 
jump up !' 

' Wait till I get a dose of your medicine.' 

' True ; you will feel better then. I say : city life 
don't agree with us, eh ?' 

' You call this a city, do you ?' 

' Ay, so it is styled in these parts : la ciudad de 
Santa Fe ; the famous city of Santa Fe ; the capital 
of Xuevo Mexico ; the metropolis of all prairiedom ; 
the paradise of traders, trappers, and thieves !' 

' And this is the progress of three hundred years ! 
Why, these people have hardly passed the first stages 
of civilization.' 

' Bather say they are passing the last stages of 
it. Here, on this far oasis, you will find painting, 
poetry, dancing, theatres, and music, fetes and 
fireworks, with all the little amorous arts that 
characterise a nation's decline. You will meet with 
numerous Don Quixotes, soi-disant knights-errant, 
Eomeos without the heart, and ruffians, without the 
courage. You will meet with many things before 
you encounter either virtue or honesty. Holal 
muchacho !' 

'Que es, seSor?' 

'Hay cafe?' 

' Si, senor.' 

' Bring us a couple of tazas, then — dos tazas, do yon 
aear? and quick— aprisa I aprisal' 

'Si, seSor.' 



SAKTA Fi. 47 

' Ha ! here comes le voyageur Canadien. So, old 
Norwest ! you've brought the wine ?' 

' Vin delicieux, Monsieur St. Vrain ! equal to ze 
vintage Francais.' 

'He is right, Haller! Tsap — tsap! — delicious you 
may say, good Gode. Tsap— tsap ! Come, drink ! 
it'll make you feel as strong as a buffalo. See ! it 
seeths like a soda spring ! like Fontaine-qui-bouille : 
eh, Gode?' 

' Oui, monsieur ; ver like Fontaine-qui-bouille. Pe 
Gar! oui.' 

' Drink, man, drink ! Don't fear it : it's the pure 
juice. Smell the flavour ; taste the bouquet. Lord ! 
what wine the Yankees will one day squeeze out of 
these New Mexican grapes !' 

' Why ? Do you think the Yankees have an eye to 
this quarter?' 

' Think ! I know it ; and why not ? What use are 
these manikins in creation? Only t. cumber the 
earth. Well, mozo, you have brought the coffee ?' 

' Ya, esta, seiior.' 

' Here ! try some of this : it will help to set you on 
your feet. They can make coffee, and no mistake. 
It takes a Spaniard to do that.' 

' What is this fandango Gode has been telling me 
about."' 

' Ah : true. We are to have a famous one to-night. 
You'll go, of course ?' 

' Out of curiosity.' 

' Very well ; you will have your curiosity gratified. 
The blustering old grampus of a governor is to honour 
the ball with his presence ; and, it is said, his pretty 
seiiora ; that 1 don't believe.' 

' Why not ?' 

'He's too much afraid lest one of these wild Ameri- 



48 TIIK SCAI.IMIUXTEKS. 

canos might whip her off on the cantle of his saddle. 
Such things have been done in this very valley. By 
St. Mary ! she i3 good-looking,' continued St. Train, in 

a half soliloquy, ' and T knew a man the cmsed 

old tyrant ! only think of it !' 

' Of what ?' 

' The way he has Lied us. Five hundred dollars a 
waggon, and a hundred of thern at that : in all fifty 
thousand dollars !' 

' But will he pocket all this ? Will not the govern- 
ment ?' 

' Government ! no, every cent of it. He is the 
government here ; and, with the help of this instal- 
ment, he will rule these miserable wretches with an 
iron rod. Toor devils !' 

' And yet they hate him, do they not ?' 

' Him and his. God knows they have reason.' 

' Tt is strange they do not rebel.' 

' They have at times ; but what can the poor devils 
do ? Like all true tyrants, he has divided them, and 
makes them spend their hearts' hatred on one ano- 
ther.' 

' But he seems not tc have a very large army ; no 
body-guard ' 

'Body-guard!' cried St. Train, interrupting me; 
'lookout! there's his body-guard !' 

' Indios bravos! les NavajoesV exclaimed Gode, at 
the same instant. 

I looked forth into the street. Half-a-dozen tall 
savages, wrapped in striped serapes, were passing. 
Their wild hungry looks, and slow proud walk, at 
once distinguished them from Indios manzos: the 
water-drawing, wood-hewing pueblos. 

'Are they Xavajoes ?' I asked. 

'Oui, monsieur, oui!' replied Gode, apparently with 



SANTA Fft. 49 

some excitement. ' Sacre Dieu ! Navajoes ! tres dam 
Navajoes !' 

' There's no mistaking them,' added St. Vrain. 

' But the Navajoes are the notorious enemies of the 
New Mexicans ! How come they to be here ? Pri 
soners ?' 

' Do they look like prisoners ?' 

They certainly showed no signs of captivity in 
either look or gesture. They strode proudly up the 
btreet, occasionally glancing at the passers with an air 
of savage and lordly contempt. 

' Why, then, are they here ? Their country lies far 
to the west.' 

' That is one of the secrets of Nuevo Mexico, about 
which I will enlighten you some other time. They 
are now protected by a treaty of peace, which is only 
binding upon them so long as it may suit their con- 
venience to recognise it. At present they are as free 
here as you or I : indeed, more so, when it comes to 
that. I wouldn't wonder if we were to meet them at 
the fandango to-night.' 

' I have heard that the Navajoes are cannibals.' 

' It is true. Look at them this minute ! See how 
they gloat upon that chubby little fellow, who seems 
instinctively to fear them. Lucky for the urchin it's 
broad daylight, or he might get chucked under one of 
those striped blankets.' 

' Are you in earnest, St. Vrain ?' 

' By my word, I am not jesting ! If I mistake not, 
Liode's experience will confirm what I have said. Eh, 
voyageur?' 

' O'est vrai, monsieur. I vas prisonnier in Ie nation : 
uot Navagh, but le dam Apache— moch de same — 
pour tree mons. I have les sauvages seen manger 
— eat — one — deux — tree — tree enfants rotis, like 



SO THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

hump rib of de buffl.es. C'est vrai, messieurs, c'esi 
vrai.' 

' It is quite true : both Apaches and Navajoes carry 
off children from the valley, here, in their grand 
forays ; and it is said by those who should know, that 
most of them are used in that way. Whether as a 
sacrifice to the fiery god Quetzalcoatl, or whether 
from a fondness for human flesh, no one has yet been 
able to determine. In fact, with all their propinquity 
to this place, there is little known about them. Few 
who have visited their towns have had Gode's luck to 
get away again. No man of these parts ever ventures 
across the western Sierras.' 

' And how came you, Monsieur Gode, to save your 
scalp ?' 

' Pourquoi, monsieur, ja n'ai pas. I not haves scalp- 
lock : vat de trappare Yankee call " bar," mon scalp- 
lock, is fabrique of von barbier de Saint Louis. Toila, 
monsieur!' 

So saying, the Canadian lifted his cap, and along 
with it what I had, up to this time, looked upon as a 
beautiful curling head of hair, but which now proved 
to be only a wig ! 

' Now, messieurs !' cried he, in good humour ; ' how 
les sauvages my scalp take ? Le dam Indien no have 
cash hold. Sacr-r-r !' 

St. Train and I were unable to restrain our 
laughter at the altered and comical appearance of the 
Canadian. 

' Come, Gode ! the least you can do after that is to 
take a drink. Here, help yourself!' 

' Tres-oblige, Monsieur St. Train. Jo vous re- 
mercie. And the ever-thirsty voyageur quaffed off 
the nectar of El Paso, like so much fresh milk. 

' Come, Haller ! we must to the waggons. Business 



THE FANDANGO. 51 

first, then pleasure : such as we may find here among 
these brick stacks. But we'll have some fun in Chi- 
huahua.' 

'And you think we shall go there?' 

' Certainly. They do not want the fourth part of 
our stuff here. Wo must carry it on to the head 
market. To the camp ! Allons !' 



CHAT-TEE VII. 



THE FANDANGO. 



In the evening I sat in my room waiting for St. Vraiifc 
His voice reached me from without — 

' Las nifias de Durango 
Conmigo bailaudas, 
Al cielo Ha ! 

Are you ready, my bold rider ?' 
'Not quite. Sit down a minute and wait.' 
'Hurry, then! the dancing's begun. I have just 
»,ome that way. What ! that your ball-dress ?' Ha, 
ha, ha !' screamed St. Train, seeing me unpack a bluo 
coat and a pair of dark pantaloons, in a tolerable state 
of preservation. 

' Why, yes,' replied I, looking up ; ' what fault do 
you find ? But is that your ball-dress ?' 

No change had taken place in the ordinary raiment 
of my friend. The fringed hunting-shirt and leg- 
gins, the belt, the bowie, and the pistols, were all 
before me. 

' Yes, my dandy ; this is my ball dress : it ain't 
mything shorter; and if you'll take my advice, 
you'll wear what you have got on your back. How 



b2 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

will your long-tailed blue look, with a broad belt and 
bowie strapped round the skirts ? Ha ! ha ! ba !' 

' But why take either belt or bowie ? You aro 
surely not going into a ball-room with your pistols iu 
that fashion >' 

'And how else should I carry them? In my 
hands ?' 

' Leave them here.' 

' Ha ! ha ! that would be a green trick. No, no. 
Once bit, twice shy. You don't catch this 'coon going 
into any fandango in Santa Fc without his six-shooters. 
Come, keep on that shirt ; let your leggins sweat 
where they are, and buckle this about you. That's 
the costume du bed in these parts.' 

' If you assure me that my dress will be comme il 
fauf, I'm agreed.' 

'It ivon't be with the long-tailed blue, I promise 
you.' 

The long-tailed blue was restored forthwith to its 
nook in my portmanteau. 

St. Train was right. On arriving at the room, a 
large sala in the neighbourhood of the Plaza, we 
found it filled with hunters, trappers, traders, and 
teamsters, all swaggering about in their usual moun- 
tain ' rig.' Mixed among them were some two or three 
score of the 'natives,' with an equal number of 
senoritas, all of whom, by their style of dress, I 
recognise as ' poblanas,' or persons of the lower 
class : the only class, in fact, to be met with in Santa 
Fe. 

As we entered, most of the men had thrown asido 
their serapes for the dance, and appeared in all the 
finery of embroidered velvet, stamped leather, and 
shining ' castletops.' The women looked not less 
Dicturesque in their bright 'naguas,' snowy chem*- 



THE FANDAXGO. 5i5 

settee, and small satin slippers. Some of them flounced 
it in polka jackets ; for even to that remote region the 
famous dance had found its way. ' Have you heard 
of the electric telegraph ?' ' No, seilor.' ' Can you 
tell me what a railroad is?' 'Quien sabe?' 'La 
polka '(' ' Ah ! sefior, la polka, la polka ! cosa baenita, 
tan graciosa ! vaya !' 

The ball-room was a long oblong saJit, with a ' ban- 
quette ' running all round it. Upon this the dancers 
seated themselves, drew out their husk cigarettes, 
chatted, and smoked during the intervals of the dance. 
Jn one corner, half-a-dozen sons of Orpheus twanged 
away upon harp, guitar, and bandolin ; occasionally 
helping out the music with a shrill half-Indian chant. 
In another angle ot the apartment, puros, and ' Taos ' 
whiskey, were dealt out to the thirsty mountaineers, 
who made the sola ring with their wild ejaculations. 

There were scenes like the following:— 

' Hyar, my little muchacha ! vamos, vamos, ter 
dance ! Mucho bueno ! Mucho bueno ? Will ye ?' 

This is from a great rough fellow of six feet and 
over, addressed to a trim little poblana. 

' Mucho bueno, Sefior Americano !' replies the lady. 

' Hooraw for you ! Come along ! Let's licker fust ! 
You're the gal for my beaver. What'll yer drink? 
Agwardent or vino ?' 

' Copitita de vino, senor.' (A small glass of wino 
eir.) 

' Hyar, yer darned greaser ! Set out yer vino in a 
f qu'll's jump ! Now, my little 'un, hyar's luck, and a 
good husband !' 

' Gracias, Senor Americano !' 

'What! you understand that? You intende do 
yer?' 

• 85. seuor •' 



?4 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

' Hooraw, then '. Look hyar, littlo 'im kin yer go 
the b'ar dance?' 

' No entiende.' 

' Yer don't understan' it ! Hyar it is ; this a-way ; 
and the clumsy hunter began to show off before his 
partner, in an imitation of the grizzly bear. 

'Hilloa, Bill!' cries a comrade, 'yer'll be trapped if 
yer don't look sharp. How's yer kidneys, hoss?' 

'I'm dog-gone, Jim, if I don't feel queery about 
hyar,' replies the hunter, spreading his great paw 
over the region of the heart. 

'Don't be skeert, man : it's a nice gal, anyways. 

' Xice ! Draw a bead on them eyes, if yer kin ; and 
jest squint down at them ankles !' 

' Good sights ; a heap o' quarter ; clean shanks.' 

' I wonder what the old chap '11 take for her. I'm 
'most froze for a squaw. Hain't had nery one since I 
tuk back that Crow woman on the Yeller-stone.' 

' ~\Yah, man ! yer aint among Injuns. Get the gal's 
consent, if yer kin, and she won't cost yer as much as 
a plug o' 'bacca.' 

' Hooray for old Missouri !' shouts a teamster. 

' Come, boys ! Let's show these yer greasers a Yir- 
ginny break-down. " Cl'ar the kitchen, old folks, 
young folks.' " 

' Go it hoe and toe ! " Old Yirginny nebir tire !" ' 

' Yiva el gobernador ! Yiva Armijo ! Yiva ! viva !' 

An arrival at this moment caused a sensation in the 
room. A stout fat, priest-like man entered, accompa- 
nied by several others. It was the governor and his 
suite, with a number of well-dressed citizens, who 
were no doubt the elite of New Mexican society. 
Homo of the new-comers were milituires, dressed in 
gaudy and foolish-looking uniforms, that were soon 
seen spinning round the room in the mazes of the waltz. 



THE FANDANGO. W» 

'"Where is the Seflora Armijo?' I whispered to St. 
Vrain. 

'I told you as much. She! she won't be out. Stay 
here ; I am going for a short while. Help yourself to 
a partner, and see some fun. I will be back pre- 
sently. Au re voir !' 

Without any further explanation, St. Train squeezed 
himself through the crowd and disappeared. 

I had been seated on the banquette since entering 
the sala, St Yrain beside me, in a retired corner of the 
room. A man of peculiar appearance occupied the 
seat next to St. Train, but farther into the shadow of 
a piece of furniture. I had noticed this man as we 
entered, and noticed, too, that St. Train spoke to 
him ; but I was not introduced, and the interposition 
of my friend prevented me from making any further 
observation of him until the latter had retired. We 
were now side by side ; and I commenced a sort of 
angular reconnaissance of a face and figure that had 
somewhat strangely arrested my attention. He was 
not an American ; that was evident from his dress ; 
and yet the face was not Mexican. Its outlines were 
too bold for a Spanish face, though the complexion, 
from tan and exposure, was brown and swarth. His 
face was clean-shaven, except his chin, which carried 
a pointed, darkish beard. The eye, if I saw it aright 
under the shadow of a slouched brim, was blue and 
mild ; the hair brown and wavy, with here and there 
a strand of silver. These were not Spanish charac- 
teristics, much less Hispano-American ; and I should 
have at once placed my neighbour elsewhere but that 
his dress puzzled me. It was purely a Mexican 
costume, and consisted of a purple manga, with dark- 
velvet embroidery around the vent and along the 
borders. As this ganr.ent covered the greater part 



56 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

of his person, 1 could only see that underneath was a 
pair of green velveteen calzoneros, with yellow buttons, 
and snow-white calzoncillos puffing out along the 
seams. The bottoms of the calzoneros were trimmed 
with stamped black leather ; and under these were 
yellow boots, with a heavy steel spur upon the heel 
of each. The broad peaked strap that confined the 
spur, passing over the foot, gave to it that peculiar 
contour that we observe in the pictures of armed 
knights of the olden time. He wore a black broad- 
brimmed sombrero, girdled by a thick band of gold 
bullion. A pair of tags of the same material stuck 
out from the sides : the fashion of the country. 

The man kept his sombrero slouched towards the 
light, as I thought or suspected, for the concealment 
of his face. And yet it was not an ill-favoured one. 
On the contrary, it was open and pleasing ; no doubt 
had been handsome, before time, and whatever caused 
its melancholy expression, had lined ?.nd clouded it. 
It was this expression that had struck me on first 
6eeing the man. 

Whilst I was making these observations, eyeing him 
crosswise all the while, I discovered that he was eye- 
ing me in a similar manner, and with an interest appa- 
rently equal to my own. This caused us to face 
round to each other, when the stranger drew from 
und r his manga a small beaded cigarero, and, grace- 
fully holding it out to me, said — 

' Quiere a fumar, caballerof (Would you smoke, 
Bir?) 

' Thank you ; yes,' I replied in Spanish, at the same 
time taking a cigar from the case. 

We had hardly lit our cigarettes when the man 
•gain turned to me, with the unexpected question — 

' Will you sell your horse ?' 



THE FAXIUNOO. 57 

'No.' 

' Not for a good price T 

1 Not for any price.' 

' I would give five hundred dollars for him.' 

' I would not part with him for twice the amooat.' 

' I will give twice the amount.' 

'I have become attached to him: money is no 
object.' 

' I am sorry to hear it. J have travelled two hundred 
miles to buy that horse.' 

I looked at my new acquaintance with astonish- 
ment, involuntarily repeating his last words. 

'You must Lave followed us from the Arkansas, 
then?' 

' No, I came from the Bio Abajo.' 

'The Eio Abajo! You mean from down the Del 
Norte ?' 

'Yes.' 

' Then, my dear sir, it is a mistake. You think you 
are talking to somebody else, and bidding for some 
other horse.' 

' Oh, no ! He is yours. A black stallion with red 
nose and long full tail ; half-bred Arabian. There is 
a small mark over the left eye.' 

This was certainly the description of Moro ; and 1 
began to feel a sort of superstitious awe in regard to 
my mysterious neighbour. 

' True,' replied I ; ' that is all correct ; but I bought, 
that stallion many months ago from a Louisiana 
planter. If you have just arrived from two hundred 
miles down the Eio Grande, how, may I ask, couid 
you have known anything about me or my horse ?' 

'Dispensadme, caballero ! I did not mean that. 1 
came from below to meet the caravan, for the purpose 
of buying an American horse. Yours is the only ouo 



t>S Tim ^Ai-r-iiL.-STKF.S 

m the caballada I would buy, and, it seems, the only 
one that is not fjr sale !' 

' I am sorry for that ; but I have tested the qualities 
«f this animal. We have become friends. No common 
motive would induce me to part with him.' 

' Ah seiior ! it is not a common motive that makes me 
so eagei to purchase him. If you knew that, perhaps 

■ ' he hesitatated a moment ; ' but no, no, no !' and 

alter muttering some half-coherent words, among 
which I could recognise the ' Buenos noches, cabal- 
lero !' the stranger rose up with the same mysterious 
air that had all along characterized him, and left me. 
[ could hear the tinkling of the small bells upon the 
rowels of his spurs, as he slowly warped himself 
through the gay crowd, and disappeared into the night. 

The vacated seat was soon occupied by a dusky 
' manola,' whose bright nagua, embroidered chemi- 
sette, brown ankles, and small blue slippers, drew my 
attention. This was all I could see of her, except the 
occasional flash of a very black eye through the loop- 
hole of the ' rebozo tapado.' By degrees, the rebozo 
became more generous, the loophole expanded, and 
the outlines of a very pretty and very malicious little 
face were displayed before me. The end of the scarf 
was adroitly removed from the left shoulder ; and a 
nude plump arm, ending in a bunch of a small jewelled 
fingers, hung carelessly down. 

I am tolerably bashful ; but at the sight of this 
tempting partner, 1 could ' hold in ' no longer, and 
bending towards her, I said in my best Spanish, ' Do 
me the favour, miss, to waltz with me.' 

The wicked little manola first held down her head 
and blushed ; then, raising the long fringes of her 
t'5es, looked up again, and with a voice as sweet as 
that of a canary-bird, replied — 



THE FAXDANGO. 09 

'Con gusto, senor.' (With pleasure, sir.) 

' Nos vamos !' cried I, elated with my triumph ; and 
pairing off with my brilliant partner, we were soon 
whirling about in the ' mazy.' 

We returned to our seats again, and after refreshing 
with a glass of ' Albuquerque,' a sponge-cake, and a 
' husk ' cigarette, again ' took the floor.' This plea- 
surable programme we repeated some half-dozen 
times, only varying the dance from waltz to polka, for 
my manola danced the polka as if she had been a born 
Bohemian. 

On one of my fingers was a fifty dollar diamond, 
which my partner seemed to think wsxs ' muy 
buenito.' As her igneous eyes softened —y heart, 
and the champagne was producing a similar effect 
upon my head, I began to speculate on the propriety 
of transferring the diamond from the smallest of my 
fingers to the largest of hers, which it would, no 
doubt, have fitted exactly. All at once I became con- 
scious of being under the surveillance of a large and 
very fierce-looking lepero, a regular pelado, who fol- 
lowed us with his eyes, and sometimes in persona, to 
every part of the room. The expression of his swarth 
face was a mixture of jealousy and vengeance, which 
my partner noticed, but, as I thought, took no pains 
to soften down. 

' Who is he ?' I whispered, as the man swung past 
us in his chequered serape. 

' Esta mi marido, senor' (it is my husband, sir), was 
the cool reply. 

I pushed the ring close up to the root of my finger 
shutting my hand upon it as tight as a vice. 

' Yamos a tomar otra copita ! (ice us take another 
glass of wine !) said I, resolving to bid my pretty 
'pobiana,' as soon as possible, a good night. 

e 2 



60 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

The Taos whiskey had by this time produced its 
effect upon the dancers. The trappers and teamsters 
had become noisy and riotous. The leperos, who now 
half filled the room, stimulated by wine, jealousy, old 
hatreds, and the dance, began to look more savage 
and sulky. The fringed hunting-shirts and brown 
homespun frocks found favour with the dark-eyed 
majas ' of Mexico, partly out of a respect for, and a 
fear of, courage, which is often at the bottom of a love 
like theirs. 

Although the trading caravans supplied almost all 
the commerce of Santa Fc, and it was clearly the 
interest of its inhabitants to be on good terms with 
the traders, the two races, Anglo-American and 
Hispano-Indian, hated each other thoroughly ; and 
that hate was now displaying itself on one side in 
bullying contempt, on the other in muttered ' carajos 
and fierce looks of vengeance. 

I was still chatting with my lively partner. We 
were seated on the banquette where I had introduced 
myself. On looking casually up, a bright object met 
my eyes. It appeared to be a naked knife in the 
hands of ' su marido,' who was just then lowering 
over us like the shadow of an evil spirit. I was 
favoured with only a slight glimpse of this dangerous 
meteor, and had made up my mind to ' 'ware steel,' 
when some one plucked me by the sleeve, and turn- 
ing. I beheld my quondam acquaintance of the purpl© 
manga. 

' Dispensadme, sefior,' said he, nodding graciously ; 
" I have just learned that the caravan is going on to 
Chihuahua.' 

' True, there is no market here for our goode ' 

• You go on then, of course ?' 
Certainly, I must.' 



THE r»!CV»"--- 61 

' Will you return this way, seilor".'' 

' It is very likely ; I have no other intention at pre- 
sent.' 

'Perhaps then you might be -willing to part with 
your horse ? You will find many as good in the great 
valley of the Mississippi.' 

' Neither is likely.' 

'But, senor, should you be inclined to do so, wili 
you promise me the refusal of him ?' 

' Oh ! that I will promise you, with all my heart.' 

Our conversation was here interrupted by a huge, 
gaunt, half-drunken Missourian, who, trampling 
rudely upon the stranger's toes, vicefenvted — 

' Ye — up, old greaser ! gi' me a char.' 

' Y porque ?' (and why ?) demanded the Mexican, 
drawing in his feet, and looking up with astonished 
indignation. 

' Porky be d — d ! I'm tired j ampin'. I want a seat, 
that's it, old hoss.' 

Tlif-'i-p was something so bull,rir.£ and brutal in 
the conduct of this man, that I felt called upon to 
interfere. 

' Come !' said I, addressing him, ' you have no right 
to deprive this gentleman of his seat, much less in 
such a fashion.' 

'Eh, mister? who the h— 11 asked you to open yer 
head ? Ye— up, I say !' and at the word, he seized 
the Mexican by the corner of his manga, as if to drag 
him from his seat. 

Before I had time to reply to this rude speech and 
gesture, the stranger leaped to his feet, and with a 
well-planted blow felled the bully upon the floor. 

This seemed to act as a signal for bringing several 
«ther quarrels to a climax. There was a rush through 
«.ll parts of the sala, drunken shouts ming/ed with 



62 THE SCALI'-IKTNTTERS. 

yells of vengeance, knives glanced from their sheaths 
women screamed, pistols flashed and cracked, filling 
the rooms with smoke and dust. The lights went 
out, fierce struggles could be heard in the darkness, 
the fall of heavy bodies amidst groans and curses, and 
for five minutes these were the only sounds. 

Having no cause to be particularly angry with any- 
body, I stood where I had risen, without using either 
knife or pistol, my frightened ' maju' all the while 
holding me by the hand. A painful sensation near my 
left shoulder caused me suddenly to drop my partner •, 
and with that unaccountable weakness consequent 
upon the reception of a wound, I felt myself staggering 
toward the banquette. Here I dropped into a sitting 
posture, and remained till the struggle was over, con- 
scious all the while that a stream of blood was oozing 
down my back, and saturating my under garments. 

I sat thus till the struggle had ended. A light was 
brought, and I could distinguish a number of men in 
hunting-shirts moving to and fro -with violent gesticu- 
lations. Some of them were advocating the justice of 
the ' spree,' as they termed it ; while others, the more 
respectable of the traders, were denouncing it. The 
leperos with the women, had all disappeared, and I 
could perceive that the ' Americanos' had carried the 
day. Several dark objects lay along the floor : they were 
bodies of men dead or dying ! One was an American, 
the Missourian who had been the immediate cause of 
the fracas ; the others were pelodo?. I could see 
nothing of my late acquaintance. My fandanguera, 
foo — con su maridv — had disappeared ; and on glancing 
tit my left hand, I came to the conclusion that so also 
had my diamond ring ! 

' St. Train ! St. Train !' I called, seeing the figure ol 
my friend enter at the door. 



SEGUIN THE SCA1P-HDNTER. 63 

' Whore are you, II., old boy ? How is it with you * 
ill right, eh ?' 

' Not quite, I fear.' 

' Good heavens ! what's this ? why, you're stabbed 
in the hump ribs ! Not bad, I hope. Off with your 
shirt and let's see.' 

' First, let us to my room.' 

' Come then, my dear boy, leau on me : 80, so !' 

The fandango was over. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

SEGUIN THE SCALP-IIUXTER. 

1 have had the pleasure of being wounded in the field 
of battle, I say pleasure. Under certain circum- 
stances, wounds are luxuries. You have been carried 
on a " stretcher' to some secure spot. An aid-de-camp 
drops from his sweating horse, and announces that 
the enemy is in full flight,' thus relieving you from 
the apprehension of being transfixed by some mous- 
tached lancer : a friendly surgeon bends over you ; 
and after groping awhile about your wound, tells you 
it is ' only a scratch,' and that it will be well in 
a week or two ; then come visions of glory, the 
glory of the Gazette ; present pains are forgotten 
in the contemplation of future triumphs ; the con- 
gratulations of friends ; the smiles, perchance, of one 
dearer than all. Consoled by such anticipations, you 
lio back on your rude couch, smiling at a bullet-holo 
through your thigh, or the slash of a sabre across 
your arm. 

1 have had these emotions. How different were th» 



34 THK SCALF-H OXTERS. 

feelings I experienced while smarting urder wounds 
that came by the steel of the assassin ! 

My earliest anxiety was about the ' depth ' of my 
wound. Was it mortal ? This is generally the first 
question a man puts to himself, after discovering that 
he has been shot or stabbed. A wounded man 
cannot always answer it either. One's life-blood may 
be spurting from the artery at each palpitation, while 
the actual pain felt is not worth the pricking of a 
pin. 

On reaching the Fonda, I sank exhausted on my 
bed. St. Train split my hunting-shirt from cape to 
ekirt, and commenced examining my wound. I could 
not see my friend's face as he stood behind me. and I 
waited with impatience. 

' Is it deep ?' I asked. 

'Not deep as a draw-well, nor wide as a waggon- 
track,' was the reply. ' You're quite safe, old fellow : 
thank God, and not the man who handled that knife, 
for the fellow plainly intended to do for you. It is 
the cut of a Spanish knife, and a devilish gash it is. 
By the Lord ! Haller, it was a close shave. One inch 
more, and the spine, my boy ! But you're safe, I say. 
Here, Gode ! that sponge 1' 

' Sacre !' muttered Godc, with true Gallic aspirate, 
as he handed the wet rag. 

I felt the cold application. Then a bunch of soft 
raw cotton, the best dressing it could have, was laid 
over the wound, and fastened by strips. The most 
skilful surgeon could have done no more. 

'Close as a clamp,' added St. Train, as he fastened 
the last pin, and placed me in the easiest position. 
'But what started the row? and how came you to cm 
such a figure in it? I was out, thank God !' 

' Did you observe a strange-looking man ?' 



SEGUIN THE SCAU'-HUNTKIl. 66 

What ! with the purple manga r* 

'Yes.' 

' He sat beside us ?' 

' Yes.' 

'Ha! No wonder you say a strange-looking man-, 
ctranger than he looks too. I saw him, I know him, 
and perhaps not another in the room could say that : 
ay, there ivas another,' continued St. Train, with a 
peculiar smile ; ' but what could have brought him 
there is that which puzzles me. Armijo could not 
have seen him : but go on.' 

I related to St. Vrain the whole of my conversation 
with the stranger, and the incidents that led to the 
breaking up of the fandango. 

' It is odd : very odd ! What the deuce could he 
want with your horse? Two hundred miles, and 
offers a thousand dollars !' 

' Enfant de garce, capitaine !' (Gode had called me 
captain ever since the ride upon the buffalo) ; ' if 
monsieur come two hunred mile, and vill pay un 
mille thousan dollar, pe Gar ! he Moro like ver, ver 
moch. Un grand passion pour le cheval. Pourquois ; 
vy he no like him ver sheep ? vy he no steal 'im ?' 

I started at the suggestion, and looked toward St, 
Vrain. 

' Yith permiss of le capitaine, I vill le cheval cache, 
continued the Canadian, moving towards the door. 

' You need not trouble yourself, old Nor-west, as 
far as that gentleman is concerned. He'll not steal 
your horse : though that's no reason why you should 
not fulfil your intention, and cache the animal. There 
are thieves enough in Santa Fe to steal the horses of 
a whole regiment. You had better fasten him by tho 
door here.' 

Gode after devoting Santa Fe and its inhabitants to 



66 THE 5CALP-HUNTEKR. 

a much -warmer climate than Canada, passed to the 
door, and disappeared. 

"Who is lie .'' I asked, • this man, about whom there 
seems to be so much that is mysterious ?' 

' Ah ! if you knew. I will tell you some queer pas- 
sages, by-and-by, but not to-night. You have no need 
of excitement. That is the famous Seguin — the Scalp- 
hunter.' 

' The Scalp-hunter !' 

' Ay ! you have heard of him, no doubt ; at least, 
you would, had you been much among the mountains.' 

'I have. The hellish ruffian! The wholesale 
butcher of innocent ' 

A dark waif danced against the wall : it was the 
shadow of a man. I looked up. Seguin was before 
me ! 

St. Train on seeing him enter had turned away, and 
stood looking out of the window. 

I was on the point of changing my tirade into the 
apostrophic form, and at the same time ordering the 
man out of my sight, when something in his look in- 
fluenced me to remain silent. I could not tell whether 
he had heard or understood to whom my abusive 
epithets had been applied ; but thero was nothing in 
his manner that betrayed his having done so. I ob- 
served 'nly the same look that had at first attracted 
me : the same expression of deep melancholy. 

Could this man be the hardened and heartless vil- 
lain I had heard of, the author of so many atrocities ? 

' Sir,' said he, seeing that I remained silent, ' I 
deeply regret what has happened to you. I was the 
involuntary cause of your mishap. Is your wound a 
severe one ?' 

' It is not,' I replied, with a dryness of manner that 
Beemed somewhat to disconcert him. 



SECCiN THF SCALP-HOTER. 67 

' I am glad of that,' he continued, after a pause. ' I 
came to thank you for your generous interference. 1 
leave Santa Fe in ten minutes. I must bid you fare^ 
well.' 

He held forth his hand. I muttered the word ' fare- 
well,' but without offering to exchange the salutation. 
The stories of cruel atrocity connected with the name 
of this man came into my mind at the moment, and 1 
felt a loathing for him. His arm remained in its out- 
stretched position, while a strange expression began 
to steal over his countenance, as he saw that I hesi- 
tated. 

' J cannot take your hand,' I said at length. 

' And why ?' he asked, in a mild tone. 

'Why? it is red, red ! Away, sir, away !' 

He fixed his eyes upon me with a sorrowful look. 
There was not a spark of anger in them. He drew 
his hand within the folds of his manga, and uttering 
a deep sigh, turned and walked slowly out of the 
room. 

St. Train, who had wheeled round at the close of 
this scene, strode forward to the door, and stood look- 
ing after him. I could see the Mexican, from where 
I lay, as ho crossed the quadrangular patio. He had 
shrugged himself closely in his manga, and was 
moving off in an attitude that betokened the deepest 
dejection. In a moment he was out of sight, having 
passed through the saguan, and into the street. 

' There is something truly mysterious about that 
man. Tell me, St. Train ' 

' Hush-sh ! look yonder !' interrupted my friend, 
pointing through the open door. 

I looked out into the moonlight. Three human 
forms were moving along the wall, toward the en- 
trance of the patio. Their height, their peculiar atti- 



.•>» THE SCALP-HCNTEKS. 

tudes, and the stealthy silence of their steps, convinced 
me they were Indians. The next moment they wero 
lost under the dark shadows of the saguan. 

' Who are they ?' I inquired. 

' Worse enemies to poor Seguin than you wculd be, 
if you knew him better. I pity him if the&e hungry 
hawks overtake him in the dark. But no ; he's worth 
warning, and a hand to help him, if need be. He shall 
have it. Keep cool, Harry ! I will be back in a jiffy/ 

So saying, St. Vrain left me ; and the moment after 
I could see his light form passing hastily out of the 
gate. 

I lay reflecting on the strangeness of the incidents 
that seemed to be occurring around me. I was not 
without some painful reflections. I had wounded the 
feelings of one who had not injured me, and for whom 
my friend evidently entertained a high respect. A 
shod hoof sounded upon the stones outside : it was 
Gode with my horse ; and the next moment I heard 
him hammering the picket-pin into the pavement. 

Shortly after, St. Train himself returned. 

' Well,' I inquired, ' what happened you?' 

' Nothing much. That's a weasel that never sleeps. 
He had mounted his horse before they came up with 
Uim, and was very soon out of their reach.' 

' But may they not follow him on horseback ?' 

' That is not likely. He has comrades not far from 
here, I warrant you. Armijo, and it was he sent 
those villains on his track, has no force that dare 
follow him when he gets upon the wild hills. No fear 
for him onee he has cleared the houses.' 

' But, my dear St. Train, tell me what you know ot 
this singular man. I am wound up to a pitch of cu- 
riosity.' 

' Not to-night, Harry , not to-night. I do not wish 



LEFT BEIH.TO. 69 

to cause yon further excitement , besides [ have 
reason to leave you now. To-morrow, then. Good 
night ! good night !' 

And so saying, my mercurial friend left mo to Gocte 
and a night of restlessness. 



CHAPTER IX. 

LEFT BEHIND. 

On the third day after the fandango, it is announced 
that the caravan will move onward to Chihuahua. 

The day arrives, and I am unable to travel with it. 
My surgeon, a wretched leech of a Mexican, assures 
me that it will be certain death to attempt the journey. 
For want of any opposing evidence, I am constrained 
to believe him. I have no alternative but adopt tbo 
joyless resolve to remain in Santa Fe until the return 
of the traders. 

Chafing on a feverish bed, I take leave of my late 
companions. We part with many regrets ; but above 
all, I am pained at bidding adieu to St. Train, 
whose light-hearted companionship has been my 
solace through three days of suffering. He has proved 
my friend ; and has undertaken to take charge of my 
waggons, and dispose of my goods in the market of 
Chihuahua. 

" Do not fret, man,' says he, taking leave. ' Kill 
time with the champagne of El Paso. We will be 
back in a squirrel's jump ; and, trust me, I will bring 
you a mule-load of Mexican shiners. God bless you ! 
jood-bye !' 

I can sit up in my bed, and, from the opon 



tO THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

window, see the white tilts of the waggons, as the 
train roils over a neighbouring hill. I hear the 
cracking whips and the deep-toned ' wo-ha ' of the 
teamsters ; I see the traders mount and gallop after ; 
and I turn upon my couch with a feeling of loneliness 
and desertion. 

For days I lie tossing and fretting, despite the con- 
solatory influence of the champagne, and the rude but 
kindly attentions of my voyageur valet. 

I rise at length, dress myself, and sit in my ' ven- 
tana.' I have a good view of the plaza and the adja- 
cent streets, with their lows of brown adobe houses, 
and dusty ways between. 

I gaze, hour after hour, on what is passing without. 
The scene is not without novelty as well as variety. 
iSwartliy ill-favoured faces appear behind the folds oi 
dingy rebozos. Fierce glances lower under the slouch 
of broad sombreros. Poblanas with short skirts and 
slippered feet pass my window ; and groups of 'tame' 
Indians, pueblos, crowd in from the neighbouring 
rancherias, belabouring their donkeys as they go. 
These bring baskets of fruit and vegetables. They 
squat down upon the dusty plaza, behind piles of 
prickly pears, ar pyramids of tomatoes and chile. 
The women, light-hearted hucksters, laugh and sing 
and chatter continuously. The tortilhra, kneeling 
by her metate, bruises the boiled maize, claps it into 
thin flakes, fl'ngs it on the heated stone, and then 
cries, 'Tortillxs! tortillas calientes!' The cocinera 
stirs the peppery stew of child Colorado, lifts the red 
\iquid in her wooden ladle, and invites her customers 
by the expressions: 'Chile bueno ! ercdlente!' 'Car- 
bon! carbon!' cries the charcoal-burner. ' Agua! 
iffua limpia !' shouts the aguadore. ' Pan fino, pan 
Hanco!' screams the baker ; and other cries from the 



LEFT BEHIND. 77 

.renders of atole, liuevos, and leche, are uttered in shrill 
discordant voices. Such are the voices of a Mexican 
plaza.' 

They are at first interesting. They become mono- 
tonous, then disagreeable ; until at length I am tor- 
tured, and listen to them with a feverish excitement. 

After a few days I am able to walk, and go out 
with my faithful Gode. We stroll through the town. 
It reminds me of an extensive brick-field before the 
kilns have been set on fire. 

We encounter the same brown adobes everywhere , 
the same villanous-looking leperos lounging at the 
corners ; the same bare-legged slippered wenches ; the 
same strings of belaboured donkeys ; the same shrill 
and detestable cries. 

We pass by a ruinous-looking house in a remoto 
quarter. Our ears are saluted by voices from within. 
We hear shouts of ' Mueran los Yankies ! Abajo los 
Americanos!' No doubt the pelado, to whom I wa» 
indebted for my wound, is among the ruffians who 
crowd into the windows ; but 1 know the lawlessness 
of the place too well to apply for justice. 

We hear the same shouts in another street ; again 
in the plaza ; and Gode and I re-enter the Fonda with 
a conviction that our appearance in public might bo 
attended with danger. We resolve, therefore, to keep 
within doors. 

In all my life I never suffered envui, as when 
cooped up in this semi-barbarous town, and almost 
nonfilled within tbg walls of its filthy Fonda. I felt 
it the more that I had so lately enjoyed the company 
of such free jovial spirits, and I could fancy them in 
their bivouacs on the banks of the Del Norte, ca- 
rousing, laughing, or listening to some wild mountain 
stoiy. 



72 THE SCAIT-nUXI-ERS. 

Gode shared my feelings, and became as despondins* 
as myself. The light humour of the voyageur dis- 
appeared. The song of the Canadian boatman was 
beard no longer ; but, in its place, the ' sacre,' tlm 
Enfant de garce,' and the English ' God-dam,' were 
6puttered plentifully, and hurled at everything Mexi- 
can. I resolved at length to put an end to our suffer- 
ings. 

This life will never do, Gode,' said I, addressing 
my compagrion. 

' Ah ! monsieur, nevare ! nevare it vill do. Ah ! ver 
doll. It is like von assemblee of le Quaker.' 

' I am determined to endure it no longer.' 

' But what can monsieur do ? How, capitaine ? 

'By leaving this accursed place, and that to- 
morrow.' 

' But is monsieur fort ? strongs beaucoup ? strongs 
to ride ?' 

' I will risk it, Gode. If I break down, there are 
other towns on the river where we can halt. Any- 
where better than here." 

• C'est vrai, capitaine. Beautiful village down the 
river. Albuquerque ; Tome : ver many village. Mon 
Dieu ! all better. Santa Fe is one camp of dam tief. 
Ver good for us go, monsieur ; ver good.' 

'Good or not, Gode, I am going. So make your 
preparations to-night, for I will leave in the morning 
before sunrise.' 

' Dieu merci ! It will be von grand piaisir to makes 
ready.' And the Canadian ran from the room, snap- 
ping his fingers with delight. 

I had made up my mind to leave Santa Fe at any 
rate. Should my strength, yet but half restored, hold 
out, I would follow, and if possible overtake the 
Taravaa. I knew it could make but snort journey? 



LEFT BEHIND. 73 

over the deep sand roads ot the Del Norte. Sh )uld 1 
not succeed in coming up with it, I could halt in 
Albuquerque or El Paso, either of which would offer 
me a residence at least as agreeable as the one I was 
leaving. 

My surgeon endeavoured to dissuade me from 
setting out. lie represented that I was in a most 
critical condition ; my wound far from being cicatrised. 
lie set forth in most eloquent terms the dangers of 
fever, of gangrene, of hemorrhage. He saw I was 
obstinate, and concluded his monitions by presenting 
his bill. It amounted to the modest sum of one 
hundred dollars ! It was an extortion. What could 
I do ? I stormed and protested. The Mexican 
threatened me with ' governor's ' justice. Gode swora 
in French, Spanish, English, and Indian. It was 
all to no purpose. I saw that the bill would have t<» 
toe paid ; and I paid it, though with indifferent grace. 

The leech disappeared, and the landlord came next, 
lie, like the former, made earnest entreaty to prevent 
me from setting forth. He offered a variety of reasons 
to detain me. 

' Do not go ; for your life, seflor, do not !' 

' And why, good Jose ?' I inquired. 

' Oh, seilor los Indios bravos ! los Navajoes 1 car- 
sambo ! 

' Put I am not going into the Indian country. I 
travel down the river, through the towns of New 
Mexico.' 

'• Ah ! seilor ! the towns ! no hay seguridad. No, no ; 
there is safety nowhere from the Navajo. Hay nove- 
dades ; news this very day. Polvidera ; pobre Polvi- 
dera ! It was attacked on Sunday last. On Sunday > 
eeilor, when they were all en la misa. Pues, sefior, 
the robbers surrounded the church ; and oh, carrambo 



74 THE SCALP-HTTXTER8. 

they dragged out the poor people : men, women, and 
children! Pues, seiior; they kill the men; and the 
women : Dios de mi alma !' 

' Well, and the women ?' 

' Oh, sefior ! they are all gone : they were carried 
to the mountains by the savages. Pobres miigeres !' 

' It is a sad story, truly ; but the Indians, I under- 
stand, only make these forays at long intervals. 1 
am not likely to meet with them now. At all events, 
Jose, I have made up my mind to run the risk.' 

' But, sefior,' continued Jose, lowering his voice to a 
c mfidential tone, ' there are other ladrones besides 
the Indians : white ones, muchos, muchissimos ! Ay, 
indeed, mi amo, white robbers ; blancos, blancos y 
niuy feos, carrai !' 

And Jose closed his fingers as if clutching some 
imaginary object. 

This appeal to my fears was in vain. I answered it 
by pointing to my revolvers and rifle, and to the ■well- 
filled belt of my henchman Gode. 

When the Mexican Boniface saw that I was deter- 
mined to rob him of all the guests he had in his house, 
he retired sullenly, and shortly after returned with 
Ms bill. Like that of the ' medico,' it was out of all 
proportion ; but I could not help myself, and paid it. 

By gray dawn I was in my saddle ; and, followed by 
Gode and a couple of heavily-packed mules, I rode 
out of the ill-favoured town, and took the road foi 
♦he Rio Abajo. 



( 7o ) 



CHAPTER X. 

THE DEL NOBT& 

JTob days we journey down the Del Norte. We pass 
dirough numerous villages, many of them types of 
Santa Ee. We cross the zequias and irrigating 
canals, and pass along fields of bright green maize 
plants. We see vineyards and grand haciendas. 
These appear richer and more prosperous as we 
approach the southern part of the province, the Eio 
Abajo. 

In the distance both east and west, we descry dark 
mountains rolled up against the sky. These are the 
twin ranges of the Eocky Mountains- Long spurs 
trend toward the river, and in places appear to close 
up the valley. They add to the expression of many a 
Deautiful landscape that opens before us as we move 
onward. 

We see picturesque costumes in the villages aad 
along the highways : men dressed in the chequered 
scrape or the striped blankets of the Navajoes ; conical 
sombreros with broad brims ; calzoneros of velveteen, 
with their rows of shining castle-tops, and fastened 
at the waist by the jaunty sash. We see mangas and 
tilmas, and men wearing 'he sandal as in Eastern 
lands. On the women wo observe the graceful 
rebozo, the short nagua, and the embroidered chemi- 
sette. 

We see rude implements of husbandry : the creak- 
ing carreta, with its block wheels ; the primitive 
plough of the forking tree-brai-i-.h, scarcely scoring; 
the soil ; the horn-yoked oxen ; u : goad ; the clumsy 



76 THK SCALP-HUNTERS. 

hoo in the hands of the peon serf: these are all 
objects that are new and curious to our eyes, and 
that indicate the lowest order of agricultural know- 
ledge. 

Along the roads we meet numerous atajos, in charge 
of their arrieros. "We observe the mules, small, 
smooth, light-limbed, and vicious. We glance at the 
heavy alparcjas and bright worsted apishamores. 
We notice the tight wiry mustangs, ridden by the 
arrieros ; the high-peaked saddles and hair bridles ; 
the swarth faces and pointed beards of the riders ; 
the huge spurs that tinkle at every step ; the excla- 
mations, ' Hola, mula ! malraya! vaya!' We notico 
all these, and they tell us we are journeying in the 
land of the Hispano-American. 

Under other circumstances these objects would 
have interested me. At that time, they appeared to 
me like the pictures of a panorama, or the changing 
ecenes of a continuous dream. As such have the} 
left their impressions on my memory. I was undei 
the incipient delirium of fever. 

It was as yet only incipient ; nevertheless, it dis- 
torted the images around me, and rendered their 
impressions unnatural and wearisome. My wound 
began to pain me afresh, and the hot sun, and the 
dust, and the thirst, with the miserable accommo- 
dations of New Mexican posadas, vexed me to an 
excess of endurance. 

On the fifth day after leaving Santa Fe, we entered 
the wretched little ' pueblo ' of Parida. It was my in- 
tention to have remained there all night, but it proved 
it ruffian sort of place, with meagre chances of coiu- 
lort, and I moved on to Socorro. This is the last 
inhabited spot in New Mexico, as you approach the 
torxible dc 3rt, the Jornada del Muerte. 



THE DEL NORTE. 77 

Gode had never made the journey, and at Parida I 
had obtained one thing that we stood in need of: a 
guide. He had volunteered ; and as I learnt that it 
would be no easy task to procure one at Socorro, I 
was fain to take him along. He was a coarse, shaggy- 
looking customer, and I did not at all like his appear- 
ance ; but I found, on reaching Socorro, that what I 
had heard was correct. No guide could be hired on 
any terms, so great was their dread of the Jornada 
and its occasional denizens, the Apaches- 

Socorro was alive with Indian rumours, novedades. 
The Indians had fallen upon an atajo near the crossing 
of Fra Cristobal, and murdered the arrieros to a man. 
The village was full of consternation at the news. 
The people dreaded an attack, and thought me mad 
when I made known my intention of crossing the 
Jornada. 

I began to fear they would frighten my guide from 
his engagement, but the fellow stood out stanchly, 
still expressing his willingness to accompany us. 

Without the prospect of meeting the Apache savages 
I was but ill prepared for the Jornada. The pain Oi 
my wound had increased, and I Avas fatigued and 
burning with fever. 

But the caravan had passed through Socorro only 
three days before, and I was in hopes of overtaking 
my old companions before they could leave El Paso. 
This determined mo to proceed in the morning, and 1 
made arrangements for an early start. 

Gode and I were awake before dawn. My atten- 
dant went cut to summon the guide and saddle ou 
animals. I remained in the house making prepa- 
rations for a cup of coffee before starting. I was 
assisted by the landlord of the posada, who had risen, 
and was stalking about in his serape. 



/8 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

While thus engaged I was startled hy the voice of 
&ode calling from without, ' Mon maitre ! iron maitre I 
the rascal have him run vay !' 

' What do you mean ? Who has run away ?' 

' monsieur ! la Mexicaine, vith vou mule, has 
rohb, and run vay A lions, monsieur, allons !' 

I followed the Canadian to the stable with a feeling 1 
of anxiety. My horse— but no — thank heaven, he 
•was there ! One of the mules, the macho, was gone. 
It was the one which the guide had ridden from 
Parida. 

' Perhaps he is not off yet,' I suggested. 'He may 
etill be in the town.' 

We sent and went in all directions to find him, but 
to no purpose. We were relieved at length from all 
doubts by the arrival of some early market men, who 
had met such a man as our guide far up the river, and 
riding a mule at Ml gallop. 

What should we do ? Follow him to Parida ? 
No ; that woul 1 be a journey for nothing. I knew 
that he would not be fool enough to go that way. 
Even if he did, it would have been a fool's errand to 
seek for justice there, so I determined on leaving it 
over until the return of the traders would enable me 
*;o find the thief, and demand his punishment from the 
authorities. 

My regrets at the loss of my macho were not 
unmixed with a sort of gratitude to the fellow when 
I laid my hand upon the nose of my whimpering 
charger. What hindered him from taking the horse 
instead of the mule ? It is a question I have never 
been able to answer to this da • I can only account 
for the fellow's preference for the mule on the score 
of downright honesty, or the most perverse stupidity. 

I made overtures for another guide. I .applied to 



THE * JOUNEY OK DKATH. 7 

the Boniface of Socorro, but without success. He 
knew no ' mozo ' who would undertake the journey. 

' Los Apaches ! los Apaches !' 

I appealed to the poons and loiterers of the plaza. 

'Los Apaches !' 

Wherever I went, I was answered with ' Los Apa- 
ches,' and a shake of the forefinger in frout of the 
nose : a negative sign over all Mexico. 

' It is plain, Code, we can get no guide. "We must 
try this Jornada without one. What say you, voya- 
geur?' 

' I am agree, mon maitre ; allons !' 

And, followed by my faithful compagvon, with our 
remaining pack-mule, I took the road that leads to 
the desert. That night we slept among the ruins oi 
Valverde ; and the next morning, after an early start, 
embarked upon the ' Journey of Death.' 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE ' JOURNEY OP DEATH.' 

In two hours we reach the crossing a t Fra Cristobal, 
Here the road parts from the river, and strikes into 
the waterless desert. We plunge through the shallow 
ford, coming out on the eastern bank. We fill our 
4 xuages ' with care, and give our animals as much as 
-they will drink. After a short halt to refresh our- 
selves, wc ride onward. 

We have not travelled far before we recognise the 
appropriate name of this terrible journey. Scattered 
along the path we see the bones of many animals. 
There are human bones too ! That white spheroidal 
muss, with its grinning rows and serrated sutures, 



KO THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

that is a human skull. It lies beside the skeleton of 
ft horse. Horse and rider have fallen together. The 
wolves have stripped them at the same time. They 
have dropped down on their thirsty track, and 
perished in despair, although water, had they known 
it, was witL in reach of another effort ! 

We see the skeleton of a mule, with the alparcja 
Btill buckled around it, and an old blanket, flapped 
and tossed by many a whistling wind. 

Other objects, that have been brought there by 
human aid, strike the eye as we proceed. A bruised 
canteen, the fragments of a glass bottle, an old hat, a 
piece of saddle-cloth, a stirrup red with rust, a broken 
rtrap, with many like symbols, are strewed along our 
path, speaking a melancholy language. 

"We are still only on the border of the desert. Wo 
are fresh. How when we have travelled over and 
neared the opposite side ? Shall we leave such sou- 
venirs ? 

We are filled with painful forebodings, as we look 
across the arid waste that stretches indefinitely before 
us. We do not dread the Apache. Nature herself is 
the enemy we fear. 

Taking the waggon tracks for our guide, we creep 
on. We grow silent, as if we were dumb. Tho 
mountains of Cristobal sink behind us, and we are 
almost ' out of sight of land.' We can see the ridges 
of the Sierra Blanca away to the eastward ; but before 
us, to the south, the eye encounters no mark or limit. 

The sun grows hotter and hotter. I knew thip 
would be the case when we started. It was one of 
those cool mornings, with fog on the river and in the 

.r. In all my wanderings through many climes, I 
nave observed such mornings to be the harbingers of 
Miltry hours at noon. 



THE ' JOURNEY OF DEATH.' 81 

The sun is climbing upward, and every moment his 
fays become fiercer and more fervid. There is a 
strong wind blowing, but it does not fan us into cool- 
ness. On the contrary, it lifts the burning crystals, 
and spits them painfully in our faces. 

The sun has climbed to the zenith. We toil ou 
through the yielding sand. For miles we see no 
traces of vegetation. The waggon tracks guide us no 
longer. The drift has obscured them. 

"We enter a plain covered with artemisia and clumps 
of the hideous greasewood. 

The warped and twisted branches impede our pro- 
gress. For hours we ride through thickets of the 
bitter sage, and at length enter another region, sandy 
and rolling. Long arid spurs shoot down from the 
mountains, and decline into ridges of dry shifting 
sand. Now not even the silvery leaf of the artemisia 
cheers our path. Before us we see noth .ng - but barren 
(paste, trackless and treeless. 

A tropical sun glances up from the brillimt surface, 
mid we are almost blinded by the refracted rays. The 
wind blows more lightly, and clouds of dust load the 
air, sweeping slowly along. 

We push forward without guide or any object to 
indicate our course. We are soon in the midst of 
bewilderment. A scene of seeming enchantment 
springs up around us. Yast towers of sand, borne up 
by the whirlblast, rise vertically to the sky. They 
move to and fro over the plain. They are yellow and 
luminous. The sun glistens among their floating 
crystals. They move slowly, but they are approach- 
ing us. 

I behold them with feelings of awe. I have heard 
of travellers lifted in their whirling vortex, and dashed 
back again from fearful heights. 



S12 THE SCALl'-HUNTERS. 

The pack mule, frightened at the phenomenon* 
breaks the lasso and scampers away among the ridge. 
Gode has galloped in pursuit. I am alone. 

Nine or ten gigantic columns now appear, stalking 
over the plain and circling gradually around me. 
There is something unearthly in the sight. They re- 
semble creatures of a phantom world. They Beem 
endowed with demon life. 

Two of them approach each other. There is a short 
gusty struggle that ends in their mutual destruction. 
The sand is precipitated to the earth, and the dust 
floats oif in dun shapeless masses. 

Several have shut me within a space, and are slowly 
closing upon me. My dog howls and barks. The 
horse cowers with affright, and shivers between my 
thighs, uttering terrified expressions. 

I am irresolute. I sit in my saddle waiting the 
result, with an indescribable feeling. My ears are 
filled with a buzzing sound, like the hum of machinery. 
My eyes distort the natural hues into a fiery bright- 
ness. My brain reels. Strange objects appear. The 
fever is upon me ! 

The laden currents clash in their wild torsion. 1 
am twisted around and torn from my saddle. My 
eyes, mouth, and ears, are filled with dust. Sand, 
stones, and branches, strike me spitefully in the face ; 

and I am flung with violence to the earth ! 

* * * * * * 

I lay for a moment where I had fallen, half buried 
and blind. I could perceive that thick clouds of dust 
were still sweeping over me. 

I was neither stunned nor hurt ; and I began to 
grope around me, for as yet I could see nothing. My 
eyes were full of sand, and pained me exceedingly. 
Throwing out my arms, I felt for my horse ; I called 



Tin-; * JOURNEY OF DEATH.' 83 

nim by name. A low -whimper answered me. I 
staggered towards tie spot, and laid my hands upon 
him ; he was down upon his flank. I seized the 
bridle, and he sprang up ; but I could feel that he 
was shivering like an aspen. 

I stood by his head for nearly half-an-hour, rubbing 
the dust from my eyes, and waiting until the simoom 
might settle away. At length the atmosphere grew 
clearer, and I could see the sl:y ; but the sand still 
drifted along the ridges, and I could not distinguish 
the surface of the plain. There were no signs of Gode. 
He might be near me notwithstanding ; and I shouted 
loudly, calling him by name. I listened, but there 
was no answer. Again I raised my voice, and with a 
like result. There was no sound but the singing of 
the wind. 

I mounted and commenced riding over the plain m 
search of my comrade. I had no idea of what direc- 
tion he had taken. 

I made a circuit of a mile or so, still calling his name 
as I went. I received no reply, and could see no 
traces upon the ground. I rode for an hour, gallo], - 
ing from ridge to ridge, but still without meeting any 
signs of my comrade or the mules. I pulled up in 
despair. I had shouted until I was faint and hoarse. 
I could search no longer. 

I was thirsty, and would drink O God ! my ocuajes 
are broken ! The pack mule has carneu. off the water- 
skin. 

The crushed calabash still hung upon its thong ; but 
the last drops it hud contained were trickling down 
the flanks of my horse. I knew that I might be fifty 
miles from water ! 

You cannot understand the fearfulness of this 
situation. Y"" live in a northern zone ; in a land of 



84 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

pools and streams and limpid springs. You have 
never felt thirst. You know not the want of water. 
T -t gushes from every hill-side, and you have grown 
tastidious about its quality. You complain of its 
hardness, its softness, or its want of crystal purity. 
How unlike the denizen of the desert, the voyageur 
of the prairie sea ! Water is his chief care, his ever- 
present solicitude ; water the divinity he worships. 

Hunger he can stifle, so long as a patch of his 
lea+hem garment hangs to him. Should game not 
appear, he can trap the marmot, catch the lizard, and 
gather the prairie crickets. He knows every root and 
seed that will sustain life. Give him water, and ho 
will live and struggle on. He will, in time, crawl out 
of the desert. "Without this, he may chew the leaden 
bullet or the pebble of chalcedony. He may split the 
spheroid cactus, and open the intestines of the 
butchered buffalo, but in the end he must die. With- 
out water, even in the midst of plenty, plenty of food, 
he must die. Ha ! you know not thirst. It is a 
fearful thing. In the wild western desert it is the 
thirst that kilh. 

No wonder I was filled with despair. I believed 
myself to be about the middle of the Jornada. J 
knew that I could never reach the other side without 
water. The yearning had already begun. My throat 
and tongue felt shrivelled and parched. Thirst and 
fever had done it. The desert dust, too, had con- 
tributed its share. Fierce desires already gnawed me 
With ceaseless tooth. 

I had lost all knowledge of the course I should 
take. The mountains, hitherto my guide, seemed to 
trend in every direction. Their numerous spurs 
nuzzled me. 

I remembered hearing of a spring, ihe Ojo da! 



THE 'JOURNEY OF DEATH.' 85 

Muerto, that was said to lie westward of the trail. 
Sometimes there was water in the spring. On othet 
occasions travellers had reached it only to find the 
fountain dried up, and leave their bones upon its banks. 
So ran the tales in Socorro. 

For some minutes I vacillated ; and then, pulling 
the right rein of my bridle almost involuntarily, I 
headed my horse westward. I would seek the spring, 
and, should I fail to find it, push on to the river. 
This was turning out of my course ; but I must reach 
the water and save my life. 

I sat in my saddle, faint and choking, leaving my 
animal to go at will. I had lost the energy to guide 
him. 

He went many miles westward, for the sun told me 
the course. I was suddenly roused from my stupor. 
A glad sight was before me. A lake ! — a lake shining 
like crystal. Was I certain I saw it ? Could it be the 
mirage? No. Its outlines were too sharply defined. 
It had not that filmy whitish appearance which dis- 
tinguishes the latter phenomenon. No. It was not 
the mirage. It was water ! 

I involuntarily pressed the spur against the side of 
my horse ; but he needed not that. He had alread> 
eyed the water, and sprang forward inspirited with 
new energy. The next moment he was in it up to his 
flanks. 

T flung myself from the saddle with a plunge. I 
was about to lift the water in my concave palms, when 
the actions of my horse attracted me. Instead of 
drinking greedily, he stood tossing his head with 
enorts of disappointment. My dog, too, refused to 
lap, and ran along the shore whining and howling. 

I knew what this meant ; but, with that common 
obstinacy which refuses all testimony but the evidence 



&6 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

of tJio senses, 1 lifted some drops in -iy hand, and 
applied them to my lips. They were briny and burn- 
ing. I might havo known this before reaching the 
lake, for I had ridden through a salt incrustation that 
surrounded it like a belt of snow. But my brain was 
'evered ; my reason had left me. 

It was of no use remaining where I was. I climbed 
back into my saddle, and rode along the shore, over 
fields of snow-white salt. Here and there my horse's 
hoof rang against bleaching bones of animals, the 
remains of many a victim. "Well was this lake 
named the Laguna del Muerto : the ' Lake of Death !' 

Beaching its southern point, I again headed west- 
ward, in hopes of striking the river. 

From this time until a later period, when I found 
myself in a far different scene, I have no distinct 
memories. Incidents I remember, unconnected with 
each other, but nevertheless real. These are linked 
in my memory with others so wild and improbablo 
that I can only consider the latter as fancies of the 
madness that was then upon me. But some were real. 
My reason must have returned at intervals, by some 
strange oscillation of the brain. 

I remember dismounting on a high bank. I must 
have travelled unconsciously for hours before, for the 
sun was low down on the horizon as I alighted. It 
was a very high bank — a precipice — and below me I 
saw a beautiful river sweeping onward through groves 
of emerald greenness. I thought there were many 
birds fluttering in the groves, and their voices rang in 
delicious melody. There was fragrance on the air, 
and the scene below me seemed an Elysium. I thought 
that around where I stood all was bleak, and barren, 
and parched with intolerable heat. I was tortured 
wth a slakeles.'- thirst that grew fiercer as I gazed on 



THE ' JOURXKY OF DEATH. 8" 

Ihe flowing water. These were real incidents. All 
this was true. 

****** 

I must drink. 1 must to the river. It is cool sweet 
water. Oh! I must drink. What! A horrid cliff! 
No ; I will not go down there. I can descend moro 
easily here. Who are these forms? Who are 
you, sir ? Ah ! it is you, my brave Moro ; and 
you, Alp. Come ! come ! Follow me ! Down ; 
down to the river ! Ah ! again that accursed cliff! 
Look at the beautiful water! It smiles. It ripples 
on, on, on! Let us drink. No, not yet; we cannot 
yet. We must go farther. Ugh ! Such a height to 
leap from ! But we must drink, one and all. Come, 
Gode ! Come, Moro, old friend ! Alp, come on ! We 
shall reach it ; we shall drink. Who is Tantalus ? 
Ha ! ha ! Not I ; not I ! Stand back, fiends ! Do 
not push me over ! Back ! Back, I say ! Oh ! 

I thought that forms — many of them — forms 
strange and fiend-like, clustered around me, and 
dragged me to the brink of the cliff. I was launched 
out into the air. I felt myself falling, falling, falling, 
and still came no nearer to the green trees and tho 
bright water, though I could see them shining below 
me. 

I am upon a rock, a mass of vast dimensions ; but 
it is not at rest. It is swimming onward through 
empty space. I cannot move myself. I lie helpless, 
stretched along its surface, while it sweeps onward. 
It is an aerolite. It can be nothing but that. God t 
there will be a terrible collision when it strikes some 
planet world ! Horror ! horror ! 



88 THE SCALP-UUNTERS. 

I am lying on the ground, the ground of the earth. 
It upheaves beneath me, and oscillates to and fro lika 
the undulations of an earthquake ! 

****** 

Part of all this was a reality : part was a dream, a 
dream that bore some resemblance to the horrors of a 
first intoxication. 



CHAPTEK Xn. 

ZOE. 

1 t,ay tracing the figures upon the curtains. They 
were scenes of the olden time : mailed knights, 
helmed and mounted, dashing at each other with 
couched lances, or tumbling from their horses, pierced 
l>7 the spear. Other scenes there were : noble dames, 
sitting on Flemish palfreys, and watching the flight of 
the merlin hawk. There were pages in waiting, and 
dogs of curious and extinct breeds held in the leash. 
Perhaps these never existed except in the dreams of 
some old-fashioned artist ; but my eye followed their 
strange shapes with a sort of half-idiotic wonder. 

I was forcibly impressed with the noble features of 
the dames. "Was that, too, a fancy of the painter ? or 
were those divine outlines of face and figure typical of 
the times ? If so, no wonder that corslets were crushed 
and lances shivered for their smiles. 

Metallic rods upheld the curtains ; rods that shone 
brightly, and curved upwards, forming a canopy. My 
eyes ran along these rods, scanning their configura- 
tion, and admiring, as a child admires, the regularity 
of their curves. I was not in my own land. Thes* 



zok. 89 

things were strange to me. ' Yet,' thought I, ' i have 
seen something like them before, but where ? Oh 1 
this I know, with its broad stripes and silken texture ; 
it is a Navajo blanket ! "Where was I last ? In New 
Mexico ? Yes. Now I remember : the Jornada ! but 
how came I ? 

' Can I untwist this ? It is close woven ; it is wool, 
fine wool. No, I cannot separate a thread from 

' My fingers ! how white and thin they are ! and my 
nails, blue, and long as the talons of a bird ! I have 
a beard ! I feel it on my chin. What gave me a 

beard ? I never wear it ; I will shave it off ha ! 

my moustache ! 

' The knights, how they tilt at each other ! Blood) 
work ! That bold fellow, the smaller too, will unhorse 
the other. I can tell from the spring of his horse and 
the way he sits him. Horse a2id rider are one now 
The same mind unites them by a mysterious link. 
The horse feels with his rider. They cannot fail to 
sonquer charging thus. 

' Those beautiful ladies ! She with the hawk 
perched on her arm, how brilliant ! how bold, yet 
lovely !' 

I was wearied, and slept again. 

* # * * * 

Once more my eyes were tracing the figures upon 
the curtains : the knights and dames, the hounds, 
hawks, and horses. But my brain had become 
clearer, and music was flowing into it. I lay silent, 
and listened. 

The voice was a female's. It was soft and finely 
modulated. Some one played upon a stringed instru- 
ment. I recognised the tones of the Spanish harp, 
but the song was French, a song of Normandy ; and 
•■he words were in the language of that romantic land 

G 



•30 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

I wondered at this, for my consciousness of late eventj 
was returning ; and I knew that I was far from 
France. 

The light was streaming over my couch ; and turn- 
ing my face to the front, I saw that the curtains were 
drawn aside. 

I was in a large room, oddly but elegantly fur- 
Eishcd. Human figures were before me, seated and 
standing. Some were reclining upon the floor ; others 
were seated on chairs and ottomans ; and all appeared 
to be busy with some occupation. I thought there 
were many figures, six or eight at the least. This 
proved to be an illusion. I found that the objects 
before me made duplicate impressions upon my 
diseased retina ; and everything appeared to exist hi 
pairs, the counterparts of each other. After looking 
steadily for a while, my vision became more distinct 
and reliable ; and I saw that there were but three 
persons in the room, a man and two females. 

I remained silent, not certain but that the scene 
before me was only some new phase of my dream. 
My eyes wandered from one of the living figures to 
another, without attracting the attention of any of 
them. 

They were all in different attitudes, and occupied 
differently. 

Xearest me was a woman of middle age, seated 
upon a low ottoman. The harp I bad heard was 
before her, and she continued to play. She must have 
been, I thought, when young, a woman of extreme 
beauty. She was still beautiful in a certain sense. 
The noble features were there, though I could perceive 
ihat they had been scathed by more than ordinary 
suffering of the mind. The silken surface had yielded 
to care as well as time. 



ZoE. 91 

She was a Frenchwoman : an ethnologist could have 
told that at a glance. Those lines, the chaiacteristics 
of her highly-gifted race, were easily traceable. 1 
thought there was a time when that face had witched 
many a heart with its smiles. There were no smiles 
on it now, but a deep yet intellectual expression of 
melancholy. This I perceived too in her voice, in her 
song, in every note that vibrated from the strings ot 
the instrument. 

My eye wandered farther. A man of more than 
middle age stood by the table, near the centre of thfc 
room. His face was turned towards me, and its 
nationality was as easily determined as that of the 
lady. The high florid cheeks, the broad front, the 
prominent chin, the small green cap with its long peak 
and conical crown, the blue spectacles, were all cha- 
racteristics. He was a German. It was a face not 
intellectual in its expression ; yet have men with such 
a physiognomy given proofs of intellectual research in 
every department of science and art ; research deep 
and wonderful, with ordinary talents and extraordi- 
nary labour ; labour Herculean that knows no weary- 
ing; Pelion piled on Ossa. I thought of this as I 
scanned the features of the man. 

His occupation was also characteristic of his nation- 
ality. Before him were strewed over the table, and 
upon the floor, the objects of his study : plants and 
shrubs of various species. He was busy with these, 
classifying and carefully laying them out between the 
leaves of his portfolio. It was evident that the old 
man was a botanist. 

A glance to the right, and the naturalist and his 
labours were no longer regarded. I was looking upon 
the loveliest object that ever came before my eyes 
and my heart bounded within me, as I strained 

g 2 



92 the scALr-naxTL:;s. 

forward in the intensity of its admiration. The iris 
on the summer shower, the rosy dawn, the brilliant 
hues of the bird of Juno, are bright soft things. 
Blend them, blend all the beauties of nature in one 
harmonious whole, and there will still be wanting 
that mysterious essence that enters the heart of the 
beholder while gazing upon the loveliness of the 
female form. 

Of all created things, there is none so fair, none so 
lovely, as a lovely woman ! 

Yet it was not a woman that held my gaze captive, 
but a child — a girl — a maid — standing upon the 
threshold of womanhood, ready to cross it at the first 
summons of Love ! 

Men call beauty an arbitrary thing, a fancy, e 
caprice, a fashion, that to which we are used. How 
often do we hear this hackneyed opinion, while he 
who utters it revels in the conceit of his own- 
•wisdom ! 

' Every eye forms its own beauty.' A false and 
shallow sophism. We might as well declare that 
every palate forms its own taste. Is honey sweet? 
Is wormwood bitter ? Yes ; in both cases sweet and 
bitter to the child or the man, to the savage or the 
civilised, to the ignorant and the educated. This is 
true under all circumstances, unless, indeed, where- 
caprice, habit, or fashion, forms the exception. Why 
then deny to one sense what all the others so pal- 
pably possess ? Has not the human eye, in its natural 
state, its likes and its dislikes ? It has, and the laws 
that regulate them are as fixed and unerring as the 
orbits of the stars. "\Ye do not know these laws ; but 
that they exist we know, and can prove it as clearly 
as I.everrier determined the existence of Neptune : a 
world within reach of telescopic vision, yet wheeling 



zok. 9 3 

tor millions of years undetected by the sleepless 
sentinels of astronomy. 

Why does the eye rove with delight around the 
outlines of the circle ; along the curve of the ellipse ; 
of every section of the cone ? "Why does it roam trans- 
ported along the line of Hogarth ? Why does it grieve 
when this line is broken? Ah ! these are its likes and 
its dislikes, its sweets and its bitters, its honey and 
its wormwood. 

Beauty, then, is not an arbitrary tiling. The fancy, 
the conventionalism, is not in the object, but in the 
eye of the gazer ; the eye uneducated, vulgar, or 
perchance distorted by fashion. Forms and colours 
are beautiful, independently of all opinions regarding 
them. 

There is a still higher point which may be esta- 
blished in connection with this theory : an intellectual 
cause can be assigned why an object is beautiful or 
otherwise. Intellect has its forms and shapes in the 
physical world. It dwells in beauty notwithstanding 
the many apparent contradictions. Ugliness, hideous 
word ! must exert itself to obtain what beauty com- 
mands without an effort. Hence you see distinction, 
the presumptive proof of intellectual greatness, so 
often coupled with physical plainness. Hence the 
homely histrionic artiste, hence the female biblio- 
grapher, hence the ' blue.' On the other hand, 
Beauty sits enthroned like a queen or a goddess. She 
makes no effort, because she feels not the necessity. 
The world approaches at her slightest summons, and 
spreads its offerings at her feet. 

These thoughts did not all pass through my mind, 
though some of them did, while my eyes, delighted, 
revelled along the graceful curves that outlined tho 
beautiful being before me. I thought I had seen the 



94 THE SCAUMIUNTEKS. 

face somewhere. I had, but a moment before, whiiir 
looking upon that of the elder lady. They were the 
«ame face — using a figure of speech — the type trans- 
mitted from mother to daughter : the same high front 
and facial angle, the same outline of the nose, straight 
as a rfij of light, with the delicate spiral-like curve of 
the nostril, which meets you in the Greek medallion. 
Their hair, too, was alike in colour, golden ; though, 
in that of the mother, the gold showed an enamel of 
silver. The tresses of the girl were like sunbeams, 
6traying over a neck and shoulders that, for delicate 
whiteness, might have been chiselled from the stones 
of Carrara. 

All this may seem high language : figurative, if you 
will. I can neither write nor speak otherwise on this 
theme. I will desist, and spare details, which to you 
may be of little interest. In return, do me the favour 
to believe, that the being who impressed me then and 
for ever was beautiful, was lovely. 

' Ah ! it wod be ver raoch kindness if madame and 
ma'm'selle wod play la Marseillaise, la grande Marseil- 
laise. "What say mein liebe fraulein !' 

' Zoe, Zoe ! take thy bandolin. Yes, doctor, we will 
play it for you with pleasure. You like the music. 
So do we. Come, Zoe !' 

The young girl, who, up to this time, had been 
watching intently the labours of the naturalist, glided 
to a remote corner of the room, and taking up an in- 
strument resembling the guitar, returned and seated 
herself by her mother. The bandolin was soon placed 
in concert with the harp, and the strings of both 
vibrated to the thrilling notes of the ' Marseillaise.' 

There was something exceedingly graceful in the 
performance. The instrumentation, as I thought, was 
perfect; and the voices of the players accompanied it 



ZfrE. t>5 

la a sweet and spirited haitoony. As I gazed upon 
the girl Zoe, her features animated by the thrilling 
thoughts of the anthem, her whole countenance 
radiant with light, she seemed some immortal being ; 
a young goddess of liberty calling her children ' to 
arms !' 

The botanist had desisted from his labours, and 
stood listening with delighted attention. At each 
return of the thrilling invocation ' Aux armes, citoyens ! 
the old man snapped his fingers, and beat the floor 
with his feet, marking the time of the music. He was 
filled with the same spirit which at that time, over all 
Europe, was gathering to its crisis. 

'Where am 1 1 French faces, French music, French 
voices, and the conversation in French !' for the bota- 
nist addressed the females in that language, though 
with a strong Ehenish patois, that confirmed my first 
impressions of his nationality. ' Where am I ?' 

My eye ran around the room in search of an answer. 
I could recognise the furniture : the cross-legged Cam- 
peachy chairs, a rebozo, the palm-leaf petate. ' Ha, 
Alp!' 

The dog lay stretched along the mattress near my 
couch, and sleeping. 

'Alp! Alp!' 

' Oh, mamma ! mamma ! ecoutez ! the stranger calls. 

The dog sprang to his feet, and throwing his fore- 
paws upon the bed, stretched his nose towards me 
with a joyous whimpering. I reached out my hand, 
and patted him, at the same time giving utterance to 
Borne expressions of endearment. 

'Oh, mamma! mamma! he knows him. Voila.' 

The lady rose hastily, and approached the bed. 
The German scizod me by the wrist, pushing back th» 
St. Bernard, which was bounding to spring upward . 



96 THE SCALP-HUNl'liKS. 

'Hon Diuu! he is well. His eyes, doctor How 
onanged !' 

'Ya, ya; moch better; ver moch better. Hush' 
ttwa^, tog ! Keep away, mine goot tog !' 

' Who > where ? Tell me, where am I ? Who are 
you?' 

' Do not fear ! "We are friends : you have been ill !' 

' Yes, yes ! we are friends : you have been ill, sir. 
Do not fear us ; we will watch you. This is the good 
doctor. This is mamma, and I am ' 

' An angel from heaven, beautiful Zbe !' 

The child looked at me with an expression of 
wonder, and blushed as she said — 

' Hear, mamma ! He knows my name !' 

It was the first compliment she had ever received 
from the lips of love. 

' It is goot, madame : he is ver moch relieft ; he ver 
soon get over now. Keep away, mine goot Alp! 
Your master he get well : goot tog, down !' 

'Perhaps, doctor, we should leave him. The 
noise — ' 

No, no ! if you please, stay with me. The music ; 
will you play again ?' 

' Yes, the nni6ic, is ver goot : ver goot for te pain.' 

' Oh, mair.iia . let us play, then.' 

Both nether aud daughter took up their instru- 
ments, and again commenced playing. 

I listened to the sweet strains, watching the fair 

musicians a long while. My eyes at length became 

heavy ; and the realities before me changed into tho 

soft outlines of a dream. 

****** 

My dream was broken by the abrupt cessation of 
the music. I thought I heard, through my sleep, the 
opening of a door. Wheu I looked to the spot lately 



SEGOI.W 97 

occupied by the musicians, I saw that they were gone. 
The bandolin had been thrown down upon the otto- 
man, where it lay, but she was not tnere. 

I could not, from my position, see the whole of the 
apartment : but I knew that some one had entered at 
the outer door. I heard expressions of welcome and 
endearment, a rustling of dresses, the words 'Papa!' 
' My little Zoe ;' the latter uttered in the voice of a 
man. Then followed some explanations in a lower 
tone, which I could not hear. 

A few minutes elapsed, and I lay silent and listen 
ing. Presently there were footsteps in the hall. A 
^ioot, with its jingling rowels, struck upon the tiled 
floor. The footsteps entered the room, and ap- 
proached the bed. I started, as I looked up. The 
Scalp-hunter was before me ! 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

SEGUIN. 

' You are better ; you will soon be well again. I 
am glad to see that you recover.' 

Ho said this without offering his hand. 

' I am indebted to you for my life. Is it not so T 

It is strange that I felt convinced of this, the 
moment that I set my eyes upon the man. I think 
rach an idea crossed my mind before, after awaking 
from my long dream. Had I encountered him in my 
struggles for water, or had I dreamed it? 

' Oh, yes !' answered he, with a smile, ' but you will 
remember that T had something to dc with your being 
exposed to the risk of losing it.' 



B8 THE SCALr-HLWTERS. 

' Will you take this hand ? Will you forgive me ?" 
After all, there is something selfish even in grati- 
tude. How strangely had it changed my feelings 
towards this man ! I was begging the hand which, 
but a few days before, in the pride of my morality, I 
nad spurned from me as a loathsome thing. 

But there were other thoughts that influenced me. 
The man before me was the husband of the lady ; was 
the father of Zoe. His character, his horrid calling, 
were forgotten ; and the next moment our hands were 
joined in the embrace of friendship. 

' I have nothing to forgive. I honour the sentiment 
that induced you to act as you did. This declaration 
may seem strange to you. From what you knew of 
me, you acted rightly ; but there may be a time, sir, 
when you will know me better : when the deeds 
which you abhor may seem not only pardonable, but 
justifiable. Enough of this at present. The object of 
my being now at your bedside is to request that what 
you do know of me be not uttered here.' 

His voice sank to a whisper as he said this, pointing 
at the same time towards the door of the room. 

' But how,' I asked, wishing to draw his attention 
from this unpleasant theme; 'how came I into this 
bouse ? It is yours, I perceive. How came I here ? 
Where did you find me ?' 

' In no very safe position,' answered he, with a 
smile. ' I can scarcely claim the merit of saving you. 
Your noble horse you may thank for that.' 

' All, my horse ! my brave Moro ! I have lost 
him.' 

' Yonr horse is standing at the maize-trough, not 
ten paces from where you lie. I think you will find 
him in somewhat better condition than when you last 
saw him. Your mules are without. Your packs are 



SEGtJIX. 99 

safe. You will find them here,' and he pointed to the 
foot of the bed. 

•And 

' Gode you would ask for, said he, interrupting me. 
' Do not be uneasy on his account. He, too, is in 
safety. He is absent just now, but will soon return.' 

' How can I thank you ? This is good news indeed. 
My brave Moro ! and Alp here ! But how ? you say 
my horse saved me. He has done so before : how can 
this be ?' 

' Simply thus : we found you many miles from this 
place, on a cliff that overlooks the Del Norte. You 
were hanging over on your lasso, that by a lucky 
accident had become entangled around your body 
One end of it was knotted to the bit-ring, and the 
noble animal, thrown back upon his haunches, sus- 
tained your weight upon his neck !' 

'Noble Moro ! what a terrible situation !' 

'Ay, you may say that! Had you fallen from it, 
you would have passed through a thousand feet of air 
before striking the rocks below. It was indeed a 
fearful situation.' 

' I must have staggered over in my search for 
water.' 

'In your delirium you walked over. You would 
have done so a second time had we not prevented 
you. "When we drew you up on the cliff, you 
struggled hard to get back. You saw the water 
below, but not the precipice. Thirst is a terrible 
thing : an insanity of itself.' 

' I remember something of all this. I thought it 
had been a dream.' 

' Do sot trouble your brain with these things. The 
doctor hero admonishes me to leave you. I have an 
object, as T have said' (here a sad expression passed 



tOO THE SCALP UUNTfcltS. 

over the countenance of the speaker), ' else I should 
not have paid you this visit. I have not many mo- 
ments to spare. To-night I must be far hence. In a 
few days I shall return. Meanwhile, compose your- 
self, and get well. The doctor here will see that you 
want for nothing. My wife and daughter will nurse 
you.' 

'Thanks! thanks!' 

' You will do well to remain where you are until 
your friends return from Chihuahua. They must pass 
not far from this place, and I will warn you when 
they are near. You are a student. There are books 
here hi different languages. Amuse yourself. They 
will give you music. Monsieur, adieu !' 

' Stay, sir, one moment ! You seem to have taken 
a strange fancy to my horse ?' 

' Ah ! monsieur, it was no fancy ; but I will explain 
that at some other time. Perhaps the necessity no 
longer exists.' 

'Take him, if you will. Another will servo my 
purpose.' 

' No, monsieur. Do you think I could rob you of 
what you esteem so highly, and with such just reason, 
too ? No, no ! Keep the good Moro. I do not 
wonder at your attachment to the noble brute.' 

You say that you have a long journey to-night. 
Then take him for the time.' 

' That offer I will freely accept, for indeed my own 
horse is somewhat jaded. I have been two days in 
the saddle. "Well, adieu !' 

Seguin pressed my hand and walked away. I heard 
the ' chinck, chinck ' cf his spurs as he crossed tho 
apartment, and the next moment the door closed 
behind him. 

I was rlone, and lay listening to every sound that 



LOVE. 101 

reached me from without. In about lialf-an-hour 
after he had left me I heard the hoof-strokes of a 
horse, and saw the shadow of a horseman passing out- 
Bide the window. He had departed on his journey , 
doubtless on the performance of some red duty con- 
nected with his fearful vocation ! 

I lay for a while harassed in mind thinkiug of this 
strange man. Then sweet voices interrupted my 
meditations ; before me appeared lovely faces, and the 
Scalp-hunter was forgotten. 



CHAPTER XIT. 

LOVE. 

I would compress the history of the ten days follow- 
ing into as many words. I would not weary yon 
with the details of my love : a love that in the Bpace 
of a few hours became a passion deep and ardent. 

I was young at the time ; at just such an age as 
to be impressed by the romantic incidents that sur- 
rounded me, and had thrown this beautiful being ia 
my way ; at that age when the heart, unguarded by 
cold calculations of the future, yields imresistingly to- 
the electrical impressions of love. I say electrical. 
I believe that at this age the sympathies that spring 
up between heart and heart are purely of this nature. 

At a later period of life that power is dissipated 
and divided. Reason rules it. We become conscious 
of the capability of transferring our affections, for 
they have already broken faith ; and we lose that 
sweet confidence that comforted the loves of our 
youth. We are either imperious or jealous, as th« 



102 THE SCALP-HUNTKKS. 

advantages appear in our favour or against us. A 
gross alloy enters into the love of our middle life, 
sadly detracting from the divinity of its character. 

I might call that which I then felt my first real 
passion. I thought I had loved before, but no, it was 
only a dream ; the dream of the village schoolboy, 
who saw heaven in the bright eyes of his coy class- 
mate ; or perhaps, at the family pic-nic, in some 
romantic dell, had tasted the rosy cheek of his pretty 
cousin. 

I grew strong, and with a rapidity that surprised the 
skilful man of herbs. Love fed and nourished the fire 
of life. The will often effects the deed, and say as you 
may, volition has its power upon the body. The wish 
to be well, to live, an object to live for, are often tho 
speediest restoratives. They were mine. 

1 grew stronger, and rose from my couch. A glance 
at the ii irror told me that my colour was returning. 

Instinct teaches tho bird while wooing his mate to 
plume his pinions to their highest gloss ; and a 
similar feeling now rendered me solicitous about my 
toilet. My portmanteau was ransacked, my razors 
were drawn forth, the beard disappeared from my 
chin, and my moustache was trimmed to its Avonted 
dimensions. 

I confess all this. The world had told me I was not 
ill-looking, and I believed what it said. I am mortal 
in my vanities. Arc not you? 

With her. Zoo, child of nature in its most perfect 
innocence, There were no such conceits. The trickery 
of the toilet never entered into her thoughts. She 
knew not of the graces which had been so lavishly 
bestowed upon her. No one had ever told her of her 
beauty. I had learned the strange fact, that, except 
her father, the old botanist, and the pueblo peons, the 



LOVE. 1 93 

'crvants of the house, I was the only person of my 
Bex she had ever seen since a very early period of her 
life ! For years ha,d.tShe and her mother lived in tho 
seclusion of their, o'wn home : a seclusion as complete 
as that of a convent. There was a mystery in all 
this, and it was only afterwards that it was revealed 
to me. 

Hers, then, was a virgin heart, pure and spotless ; <i 
heart into whose soft dreams the light of love had 
not yet flung its ray ; against whose holy innocence 
love's god had not yet winged a single arrow. 

Are you of my sex ? Have you ever desired to be- 
come tho lord of a heart like this? If you can 
answer these interrogations in the affirmative, then 
do I tell you, what you may well remember, that any 
exertions you made to attain this end were idle. You 
were loved at once, or never ! 

The virgin heart is not gained by tho fineness of 
courtship. Tt has no half-way likings, that may yield 
to tender assiduity on your part. An object either 
attracts or repels it, and the impression is quick as 
the lightning's flash. It is the throwing of a die : you 
have won or you have won not. If the latter, you 
may as well desist. No effort can overcome the 
obstacle, and produce the emotion of love. Friend- 
ship you may gain : love never. No coquetry of yours 
can make that heart jealous ; no favours you may 
bestow can cause it to love you. You may conquer 
worlds, yet not control its secret and silent throb- 
bings. You may be the hero of a thousand tongues ; 
yet he whose image has been flung into that little 
heart will be its hero, higher and nobler than all 
others. That fair young creature, its owner, will bo 
wholly his, however humble, however worthless he 
may be. "With her there will be no reservation, no 



104 THE SCALP HUjrTETiS. 

reasoning, no caution, no cunning. She will yield 
alone to the mystic promptings of nature. Under 
their influence she will bind her whole heart to the 
altar, even when she knows that he will mako it a 
bleeding sacrifice ! 

Is it thus with the heart more matured, oft assailed ? 
with the belle — the coquette ? No. Ecjected here, 
you need not despair. You may have qualities that 
will in time change the frown to a smile. You may 
do great deeds. You may achieve renown ; and the 
scorn that once repelled you may become humility at 
your feet. Still this may be love, and strong love too, 
founded upon the admiration of some intellectual, or, 
perhaps, physical quality which you have thus proved 
yourself possessed of. It is a love guided by reason, 
and not thp mysterious instinct that rules the former. 
On which of these loves do men build the highest 
triumph ? Of which are they most proud ? Of the 
latter ? Alas ! no ; and let Him who made us answer 
why ; but I never saw the man who would not rather be 
helovedfor the beauties of his person than the excellences of 
fo's mind. You may blame me for this declaration. 
You may dery it. It is i rue. Oh ! there is no joy so 
sweet, no triumph so thrilling, as when we have 
drawn to our bosom the quivering little captive whoso 
heart throbs with the pure pulsations of a maiden 
love! 

These are after-thoughts. I was, at the time I am 
writing about, too young to have reasoned thus ; too 
littlo skilled in love's diplomacy ; and yet many a 
process of reasoning passed through my mind, and 
many a scheme was devised, to enable me to discover 
■whether I was then beloved. 

There was a guitar in the house. I had learnt in 
cuv college days to touch the strings, and its musiu 



LOVF. 105 

delighted both Zu'e and her mother. I sang to them 
the songs of my dwii .and— songs of love ; and with a 
throbbing heart watched whether the burning words 
produced any impression upon her More than once I 
have laid aside the instrument with feelings of disap- 
pointment. 

From day to aay, strange reflections passed through 
[ny mind. Could it be thai the was too young to 
understand the import of the vrord love? too young 
to be inspired with a, passim-i * She was but twelve 
years of age, but tnen sne was the child of a sunuy 
clime ; and I had often seen at that age, under the 
warm sky of Mexico, the wedded bride, the fond 
mother. 

Day after day we were together alone. The 
tootanist was busy with his studies, and the silent 
mother occupied with the duties of her household. 

Love is not blind. It may be to all the world 

beside ; but to its own object it is as watchful as 

Argus. 

****** 

I was skilled in the use of the crayon, and I amused 
my companion by sketches upon scraps of paper and 
the blank leaves of her music. Many of these were 
the figures of females, in different attitudes and cos- 
tumes. Tn one respect they resembled each other : 
their faces were alike. 

The child, without divining the cause, had noticed 
this peculiarity in the drawings. 

' Why is it ?' she asked one day, as we sat together. 
' These ladies are all in different costumes, of different 
nations ; are they not ? and yet there is a resemblance 
in their faces ! They have all the same features ; 
indeed, exactly the same, I think.' 

It is your face, Zoe ; I can sketch no other.' 



106 thl: SCALF-EUXTERS. 

Sho raised her large eyes, and bent them upon me 
with an expression of innocent wonder. Was she 
blushing ? Xo ! 

'Is that like me?' 

' It is, as nearly as I can make it.' 

' And why do you not sketch other faces ?' 

' Why ! because I Zbe, I fear you would not 

understand me.' 

' Oh, Enrique ; do yon think me so bad a scholar ? 
Do I not understand all that you tell me of the far 
countries where you have been ? Surely I may com- 
prehend this as well.' 

' I will tell you, then, Zoc.' 

I bent forward, with a burning heart and trembling 
voice. 

' It is because your face is ever before me ; I can 
paint no other. It is, that 1 love you, Zbe '.' 

' Oh ! is that the reason ? And when you love one, 
her face is always before you, whether she herself be 
present or no ? Is it not so ?' 

' It is so,' 1 replied, with a painful feeling of disap- 
pointment. 

' And is that love, Enrique ? 

' It is.' 

' Then must I love you ; for, wherever I may be, I 
can see your face : how plainly before me ! If I could 
use this pencil as you do, I am sure I could paint it, 
though you were not near me '. What then ? Do you 
think J love you, Enrique?' 

No pen could trace my feelings at that moment. 
We were seated; and the sheet on which were the 
sketches was Leld jointly between us. My hand 
wandered over its surface, until the unresisting fingers 
of my companion were clasped in mine. A wilder 
emotion followed the electric touch: the paper fef 



LIGHT AND SHAVE. 1 3T 

upon tho floor ; and with a proud but trembling heart 
I drew the yielding form to mine ! 

There was no resistance. Our lips met in the first 
kiss : a kiss of reciprocal love. I felt her heart throb 
and flutter as she lay upon my breast. Oh, joy ! joy ! 
/ was the lord of that little heart I 



CHAPTEB XV. 



LIGHT AND SHADE. 



The house we inhabited stood in a quadrangular 
enclosure that sloped down to the banks of the river, 
the Del Norte. This enclosure was a garden or 
shrubbery, guarded on all sides by high thick walls of 
adobe. Along the summit of these walls had been 
planted rows of the cactus, that threw out hugo 
thorny limbs forming an impassable chevaux-de-fnse. 
There was but one entrance to the house and garden, 
through a strong wicket gate, which I had noticed 
was always shut and barred. I had no desire to go 
abroad. The garden, a large one, hitherto had formed 
the limit of my walk; and through this I often 
rambled with Zde and her mother, but oftener with 
Zoe alone. 

There were many objects of interest about the 
place. It was a ruin ; and the house itself bore 
evidences of better times. It was a large building in 
the Moro-Spanish style, with flat roof (azotea), and 
notched parapet running along the front. Here 
and there the little stone turrets of this parapet had 
fallen off, exhibiting evidence of neglect and decay. 

The garden bore these symptoms throughout ite 

h 2 



• 08 THE SCALP- II UX'l'KKS. 

whole extent ; at the same time, in its ruins you 
might read ample testimony of the great care that 
had once been bestowed upon it. Crumbling statues, 
dry fountains, ruined arbours, weed-grown walks, 
attested its former grandeur, its present neglect. 
There were many trees of singular and exotic species, 
but there was a wildness in the appearance of 
their fruit and foliage, and they had grown into 
thickets interlacing each other. There was a free 
beauty, however, in this very wildness that charmed 
one ; and the sense was further delighted with the 
aroma of a thousand flowers, that continually floated 
upon the air. 

The walls of the garden impinged upon the river, 
and there ended ; for the bank was steep and vortical, 
and the deep still water that ran under it formed a 
sufficient protection on that side. 

A thick grove of cotton-woods fringed the bank of 
■the river, and under their shade had been erected a 
■number of seats of japanned mason-work, in a style 
peculiar to Spanish countries. There were steps cut 
in the face of the bank, overhung with drooping 
shrubs, and leading to the water's edge. I had 
noticed a small skiff moored under the willows, where 
these steps went down to the water. 

From this point only could you see beyond the 
limits of the enclosure. The view was magnificent, 
and commanded the windings of the Del Norte for a 
distance of miles. 

The country outside seemed wild and uninhabited. 
Nearly as far as the eye could range, the beautiful 
frondage of the cotton-wood groves covered the land- 
scape, and cast its soft shadows on the river. South- 
ward, away near the horizon's edge, a single spire 
glanced over the tops of the trees, This was the 



LIGHT ASV SHADE. 109 

thuich of El Paso del Norte, whose vine clad hills 
could be seen rising against the distant background 
i>f the sky. Along the east to the "Rocky 

Mountains : the mysterious chain of the Organos, 
whose dark summit lake, with its ebbing tides, in- 
spires the lone hunter with a superstitious terror. 
To the west, low down and dimly seen, were the twin 
ranges of the Mimbres : those mountains of gold, 
whose desert passes rarely echo the tread of a human 
toot. Even the reckless trapper turns aside when he 
approaches that unknown land that stretches north- 
ward from the Gila : the land of the Apache and the 

cannibal Navajo. 

****** 

Evening after evening we sought the grove of 
cotton-woods, and, seated upon one of the benches, 
together watched the glowing sunset. At this time 
of the day we were ever alone, I and my little com- 
panion. 

I have called her my little companion, though I 
thought at this time that she had suddenly grown to 
a larger stature, assuming the form and outlines of a 
woman ! In my eyes, she was a child no longer. 
Her form had become more developed, her bosom roso 
higher in its gentle undulations, and her movements 
appeared to me womanlike and commanding. Her 
colour too seemed heightened, and a radiant brilliance 
sported over her features. The lovelight streaming 
Irom her large brown eyes added to their liquid lustre. 
There was a change of mind and body. It was the 
mystic transformation of love. She was under the 
influence of its god ! 

# * * * * w 

One evening, as usual, we sat under the solemn 
shadow of the grove. We had brought with us the 



110 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

guitar and bandolin ; but, after a few notes had been 
struck, the music was forgotten, and the instruments 
lay upon the grass at our feet. We loved to listen to 
the music of our own voices. We preferred the utter- 
ance of our own thoughts to the sentiments of any 
song, however sweet. There was music enough 
around us : the hum of the wild bee as it bade fare, 
well to the closing corolla ; the ' whoop ' of the gruya 
in the distant sedge ; and the soft cooing of the doves 
as they sat in pairs upon the adjacent branches, like 
us whispering their mutual loves. 

Autumn had now painted the woods, and the fron- 
dage was of every hue. The shadows of the tall trees 
dappled the surface of the water, as the stream rolled 
silently on. The sun was far down, and the spire of 
El Paso gleamed like a golden star under the parting 
kiss of his beams. Our eyes wandered, and rested 
upon the glittering vane. 

'The church!' half soliloquised my companion; 
• I hardly know what it is like, it is so long since I 
saw it.' 

' How long ?' 

* Oh ! many, many years : I was very young then.' 

' And yon have not been beyond these walls since 
then?' 

' Oh ! yes. Papa has taken us down the river in tho 
boat, mamma and myself, often, but not lately.' 

* And have you no wish to go abroad through these 
gay woods ?' 

* I do not desire it ; I am contented here.' 

* But will you always be contented here ?' 

' And why not, Enrique ? When you are near me, 
why should I not be happy ?' 

' But when ' 

A dark shadow seemed to cross her thoughts. 



LIGHT AXD SHADE. Ill 

Benighted with lore, she had never reflected upon the 
probability of my leaving her, nor indeed had I. Her 
cheeks became suddenly pale ; and I could see the 
agony gathering in her eyes, as she fixed them upon 
me. But the words were out 

' When I must leave you ?' 

She threw herself on my breast, with a short, sharp 
scream, as though she had been stung to the heart, 
and in an impassioned voice cried aloud — 

' Oh ! my God, my G od ! leave me ! leave me ! Oh ! 
you will not leave me ? You who have taught me to 
love I Oh ! Enrique, why did you tell me that you 
loved me ? "Why did you teach me to love V 

'Zoe!' 

' Enrique, Enrique ! say you will not leave me ?' 

' Never ! Zoe ! I swear it ; never, never !' 

I fancied at this moment I heard the stroke of an 
oar ; but the wild tumult of my feelings, and the close 
embrace of my betrothed, who in the transport of 
reaction had twined her arms around me, prevented 
me from rising to look over the bank. It was the 
plunge of the osprey, thought I ; and dismissing the 
thought, I yielded myeelf to the long and rapturous 
kiss. 1 was raising my head again, when an object, 
appearing above the bank, caught my eye. It was a 
black sombrero with its golden band. I knew the 
wearer at a glance : Seguin ! 

In a moment, he was beside us. 

' Papa !' exclaimed Zoe, rising up and reaching for- 
ward to embrace him. 

The father put her to one side, at the same time 
tightly grasping her hand in his. For a moment he 
-emained silent, bending his eyes upon me with an 
expression I cannot depict. There was in it a mixture 
of reproach, sorrow, and indignation. I had risen U 



i 12 THE, SCALP-HUNTERS. 

confront him, but I quailed under that singular glance 
and stood abashed and silent. 

' And this is the way you have thanked me for 
saving your life ? A brave return, good sir ; what 
think you ?' 

I made no reply. 

' Sir !' continued he, in a voice trembling with emo- 
tion, ' you have deeply wronged me.' 

' I know it not ; I have not wronged you.' 

' What call you this ? Trifling with my child !' 

' Trifling !' I exclaimed, roused to boldness by the 
accusation. 

' Ay, trifling ! Have you not won her affections ?' 

' I won them fairly.' 

' Pshaw, sir ! This is a child not a woman. Won 
them fairly ! What can she know of love ?' 

Papa ! I do know love. I have felt it for many 
days. Do not be angry with Enrique, for I love him 
oh, papa ! in my heart I love him !' 

He turned to her with a look of astonishment. 
Hear this !' he exclaimed. ' Oh heavens ! my child,, 
my child !' 

His voice stung me, for it was full of sorrow. 

' Listen, sir !' I cried, placing myself directly before 
him. ' I have won the affections of your daughter. 
I hare given mine in return. I am her equal in rank, 
as she is mine. What crime then have I committed r 
Wherein have I wronged you ?' 

He looked at me for some moments without making 
any reply. 

'You would marry her, then?' he said, at length 
with an evident change in his manner. 

' Had I permitted our love thus far, without that 
intention, I should have merited your reproaches, I 
should have been " trifling" as you have said.' 



light a:.t> shade. 113 

" Marry me !' exclaimed Zbe, -with a look of bewilder- 
ment. 

' Listen ! Toor child ! she knows not the meaning oi 
the word !' 

4 Ay, lovely Zoe ! I will ; else my heart, like yours, 
shall be wrecked for ever ! Oh, sir !' 

' Come, sir, enough of this. You have won he* 
from herself; you have yet to win her from me. I 
will sound the depth of your affection. I will put yoi 
to the proof.' 

' Put me to any proof!' 

' We shall see ; come ! let us in. Here, Zoe !' 

And, taking her by the hand, he led her towards the 
Louse. I followed close behind. 

As we passed through a clump of wild orange trees, 
the path narrowed ; and the father, letting go hei 
hand, walked on ahead. Zoe was between us ; and as 
we reached the middle of the grove, she turned sud- 
denly, and laying her hand upon mine, whispered in a 
trembling voice, ' Enrique, tell me, what is " to 
marry f ' 

' Dearest Zoe ! not now ; it is toe difficult to ex- 
plain ; another time, I ' 

' Come, Zoe ! your hand, child I' 

' Papa, I am coming 1' 



( u* 1 



CHAPTER XVII. 



AX AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 



I was alone with my host in the apartment 1 had 
hitherto occupied. The females had retiree to 
another part of the hou-e ; and I noticed that Seguin, 
on entering, had looked to the door, turning the 
bolt. 

What terrible proof was he going to exact of my 
faith, of my love 1 "Was he about to take my life or 
bind me by some fearful oath, this man of cruel deeds ? 
Dark suspicions shot across my mind, and I sat silent, 
but not without emotions of fear. 

A bottle of wine was placed between us, and Seguin, 
pouring out two glasses, asked me to drink. This 
courtesy assured me. ' But how if the wine be 
poi — ?' He swallowed his own glass before the 
thought had fairly shaped itself. 

' I am wronging him,' thought I. ' This man, with 
all, is incapable of an act of treachery like that.' 

I drank up the wine. It made me feel more com- 
posed and tranquil. 

After a moment's silence he opened the conversation 
with the abrupt interrogatory — 

' What do you know of me ?' 

' Your name and calling : nothing more.' 

' Mere than is guessed at here ;' and he pointed 
nignlficantly to the door. 'Who told you thus much 
of me?' 

* A friend, whom you saw at Santa Fe.' 

' Ah 1 St. Yrain ; a brave, bold man. I met liim 



AS AUT0BICG11APHY. 115 

once in Chihuahua. Did he tell you no more of me 
than this ?' 

'No. He promised to enter into particulars con- 
cerning you, but the subject was forgotten, the cara- 
van moved on, and we wore separated.' 

'You heard, then, that I was Seguin the Scalp- 
hunter ? That I was employed by the citizens of El 
Paso to hunt the Apache and Navajo, and that I was 
paid a stated sum for every Indian scalp I could hang 
upon their gates ? You heard all this ?' 

' I did.' 

' It is true. 

I remained silent. 

' Now, sir,' he continued, after a pause, ' would you 
marry my daughter, the child of a wholesale mur- 
derer V 

'Your crimes are not hers. She is innocent even of 
the knowledge of them, as you have said. You may 
bo a demon ; she is an angel.' 

There was a sad expression on his countenance as I 
said this. 

' Crimes ! demon !' he muttered half in soliloquy. 
' Ay, you may well think this : so judges the world. 
You have heard the stories of the mountain men in all 
their red exaggeration. You have heard that, during 
a treaty, I invited a village of the Apaches to a 
banquet, and poisoned the viands : poisoned the 
guests, man, woman, and child, and then scalped 
them ! You have heard that I induced to pull upon 
the drag-rope of a cannon two hundred savages, who 
know not its uses ; and then fired the piece, loaded 
with grape, mowing down the row of unsuspecting 
wretches ! These, and other inhuman acts, you havo 
no doubt heard of ?' 

' It is true. I have heard these stories among the 



116 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

mountain hunters ; but I knew not whether to believe 
them.' 

' Monsieur, they are false ; all false and un- 
founded.' 

' I am glad to hear you say t'his. T could not now 
btJieve you capable of such barbarities.' 

'And yet, if they were true in all their horrid 
details, they would fall far short of the cruelties that 
have been dealt out by the savage foe to the iriiabit- 
ants of this defenceless frontier. If you knew the 
history of this land for the last ten years ; its massacres 
and its murders ; its tears and its burnings ; its rapes 
and sjjoliations ; whole provinces depopulated ; vil- 
lages given to the flames ; men butchered on their 
own hearths ; women, beautiful women, carried into 
captivity to satisfy the lust of the desert robber ! Oli, 
God! and I too have shared wrongs that will acqui* 
me in your eyes, perhaps in the eyes of heaven !' 

The speaker buried his face in bis hands, and leant 
forward upon the table. He was evidently suffering 
from some painful recollection. After a moment he 
resumed : — 

' I would have you listen to a short history of my 
life.' 

I signified my assent ; and after filling and drinkine 
another glass of wine, he proceeded. 

' I am not a Frenchman, as men suppose. I am a 
Creole, a native of Xew Orleans. My parents were 
refugees from St Domingo, where, after the black 
revolution, the bulk of their fortune was confiscated 
by the bloody Christophe. 

' I was educated for a civil engineer ; and, in this 
capacity, I was brought out to the mines of Mexico, 
by the owner of one of them, who knew my father, 
I was young at the time, and I spent several yearr> 



AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 117 

employed in the mines of Zacatecas and Ban Luis 
1'otosi. 

' I had saved some money out of my pay, and 1 
began to think of opening upon my own account. 

' Eumours had long been current that rich veins of 
gold existed upon the Gila and its tributaries. The 
washings had been seen and gathered in these rivers : 
and the mother of gold, the milky quartz rock, cropped 
out everywhere in the desert mountains of this wild 
region. 

' I started for this country with a select party ; and, 
after traversing it for weeks, in the Mimbres moun- 
tains, near the head waters of the Gila, I found the 
precious ore in its bed. I established a mine, and in 
five years was a rich man. 

' I remembered the companion of my youth, the 
gentle, the beautiful cousin who had shared my confi- 
dence, and inspired me with my first passion. With 
me it was first and last ; it was not, as is often the 
case under similar circumstances, a transient tiling. 
Through all my wanderings I had remembered and 
loved her. Had she been as true to me ? 

' I determined to assure myself; and leaving my 
affairs in the hands of my mayoral, I set out for my 
native city. 

' Adele had been true ; and I returned, bringing her 
with me. 

' I built a house in Valverde, the nearest inhabited 
district to my mine. 

'Valverde was then a thriving place; it is now a 
ruin, which you may have seen in your journey down. 

' In this place we lived for years, in the enjoyment 
of wealth and happiness I look back upon those 
days as so many ages of bliss. Our love was mutual 
and ardent ; and we were blessed with two cbildren, 



118 THE SCALr-H [INTERS. 

both girls. The youngest resembled her mother ; the 
other, I have been told, was more like myself. We 
doted, I fear too much, on these pledges. We were 
too happy in their possession. 

' At this time a new governor was sent to Santa Fe ; 
a man who, by his wantonness and tyranny, has since 
then ruined the province. There has been no act too 
rile, no crime too dark, for this human monster. 

' He offered fair enough at first, and was feasted in 
the houses of the ricos through the valley. As I was 
classed among these, I was honoured with his visits, 
and frequently. He resided principally at Albu- 
querque ; and grand fetes were given at his palace, to 
which my wife and I were invited as special guests. 
He in return often came to our house in Valverde, 
under pretence of visiting the different parts of the 
province. 

' I discovered, at length, that his visits were solely 
intended, for my wife, to whom he had paid some 
flattering attentions. 

' I will not dwell on the beauty of Adele, at this 
time. You may imagine that for yourself; and, 
monsieur, you may assist your imagination by allow- 
ing it to dwell on those graces you appear to have 
discovered in her daughter, for the little Zbe is a type 
of what her mother was. 

' At the time I speak of she was still in the bloom Oi 
her beauty. The fame of that beauty was on every 
tongue, and had piqued the vanity of the wanton 
tyrant. For this reason I became the object of his 
friendly assiduities. 

' I had divined this ; but confiding in the virtue of 
my wife, I took no notice of his conduct. No overt 
act of insult as yet claimed my attention. 

' Returning on one occasion from a long absence at 



AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY. 119 

the mines, Adele informed me, what, througli delicacy 
she had hitherto concealed, of insults received from 
his excellency at various times, but particularly in a 
visit he had paid her during my absence. 

' This was enough for Creole blood. I repaired to 
Albuquerque ; and on the public plaza, in presence of 
the multitude, I chastised the insulter. 

' I was seized and thrown into a prison, where I lay 
for several weeks. When I was freed, and sought my 
home again, it was plundered and desolate. The wild 
Navajo had been there : my household gods were 
scattered and broken ; and my child, oh God ! my 
little Adele, was carried captive to the mountains !' 

'And your wife? your other child?' I inquired, 
eager to know the rest. 

' They had escaped. In the terrible conflict, for my 
poor peons battled bravely, my wife, with Zoe in her 
arms, had rushed out and hidden in a cave that was 
in the garden. I found them in the ranche of a va- 
quero in the woods, whither they had wandered.' 

' And your daughter Adele, have you heard aught 
of her since ?' 

'Yes, yes ; I will come to that in a moment. 

' My mine, at the same time, was plundered and de- 
stroyed ; many of the workmen were slaughtered 
before they could escape ; and the work itself with 
my fortune, became a ruin. 

4 With some of the miners, who had fled, and others 
of Yalverde, who, like me, had suffered, I organized a 
band, and followed the savage foe; but our pursuit 
was vain, and we turned back, many of us broken in 
health and heart. 

' Oh ! monsieur, you cannot know what it is to have 
thus lost a favourite child ! you cannot understand 
tne agony of the bereaved father!' 



120 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

The speaker pressed bis head between bis hands, 
and remained for a moment silent. His countenance 
bore the indications of heart-rending sorrow. 

' My story will soon be told, up to the present time. 
Who knows the end ? 

' For years, I hung upon the frontiers of the Indian 
country, hunting for my child. I was aided by a small 
band, most of them unfortunates like myself, who had 
lost wife or daughter in a similar manner. But our 
means became exhausted, and despair wore us out. 
The sympathies of my companions grew old and cold. 
One after another gave up. The governor of New 
Mexico offered us no aid. On the contrary, it was 
suspected then — it is now known — that the governor 
himself was in secret league with tbe Navajo chiefs, 
lie had engaged to leave them unmolested ; while 
they, on their side, promised to plunder only his 
€iiemi:& I 

'On learning this terrible secret, I saw the hand 
that bad dealt me the blow. Stung by the disgrace I 
had put upon him, as well as by my wife's scorn, the 
villain was not slow to avenge mruself. 

' Since then his life has been twice in my power, but 
•the taking of it would, most probably, have forfeited 
my own, and I had objects for which to live. I may 
yet find a reckoning day for him. 

' I have said that my band melted away. Sick at 
heart, and conscious of danger in New Mexico, I left 
the province, and crossed the Jornada to El Paso. 
Here for a while I lived, grieving for my lost child. 

' I was not long inactive. The frequent forays 
made by the Apaches into Sonora and Chihuahua had 
rendered the government more energetic in the defence 
of the frontier. The presidios were repaired and gar- 
risoned with tzo efficient troops, and a banj \ 



AN AU'IOBIOGHArilY. 121 

rangers organised, whose pay was proportioned to the 
number of scalps they might send back to the settle- 
ments. 

' I was offered the command of this strange guerilla ; 
and in the hope that I might yet recover my child, I 
accepted it : I became a scalp-hunter. 

'It was a terrible commission; and had revenge 
alone been my object, it would long since have been 
gratified. Many a deed of blood have we enacted ; 
many a scene of retaliatory vengeance have we passed 
through. 

' I knew that my captive daughter was in the hands 
of the Navajoes. I had heard so at various times 
from prisoners whom I had taken ; but I was always 
crippled for want of strength in men and means. Ee- 
volution after revolution kept the States in poverty 
and civil warfare, and our interests were neglected or 
forgotten. With all my exertions, I could never raise 
a force sufficient to penetrate that desert country 
north of the Gila, in which lie the towns of the 
savage Navajoes.' 

' And you think ' 

' Patience ! I shall soon finish. My band is now 
stronger than ever. I have received certain informa- 
tion, by one just escaped from a captivity among the 
Navajoes, that the warriors of both tribes are about to 
proceed southward. They are mustering all their 
strength, with the intention of making a grand foray ; 
even, as wo have heard, to the gates of Durango. It 
is my design, then, to enter their country while they 
are absent, and search for my daughter.' 

' And you think she still lives ?' 

' I know it. The same who brought mo this news, 
and who, poor fellow, has left his scalp and ears behind 
hiin saw her often. She is grown up. and is, he s-iys, 

i 



122 THK SCALl'-HlTNTOlS. 

% sort of queen among them, possessed of straDge 
powers and privileges. Yes, she still lives ; and if it 
be my fortune to recover her, then will this tragic 
scene be at an end. I will go far hence. 

1 had listened with deep attention to the strange 
recital. All the disgust -with which my previous 
knowledge of this man's character had inspired me 
vanished from my mind, and I felt for him compas- 
sion ; ay, admiration. lie had suffered much. Suffering 
atones for crime, and in my sight he was justified, 
l'erhaps I was too lenient in my judgment, ft was 
natural I riiould be so. 

"When the revelation was ended, I was filled with 
emotions of pleasure. I felt a vivid joy to know that 
she was not the offspring of the demon I had deemed 
him. 

He seemed to divine my thoughts ; for there was a 
smile of satisfaction, I might say triumph, on his 
countenance, as he leaned across the table to refill the 
wine. 

' Monsieur, my story must Lave wearied you. 
Drink !' 

There was a moment's silence as we emptied the 
glasses. 

' And now, sir, you know the father of your betrothed, 
s,t least somewhat better than before. Are you still 
in mind to marry her ?' 

' Oh, sir ! she is now, more than ever, to me a sacred 
object.' 

' But you must win her, as I have said from me.' 

' Then, sir, tell me how. I am ready for any sacri- 
fice that may be within my power to make.' 

' You must help me to recover her sister.' 

' Willingly.' 

* You must go with me to the desert. 



A^ AUTOUIOGRAPHV. 123 

« I will.' 

' Enough. We start to-morrow. And he rose, and 
began to pace the room. 

' At an early hour ?' I inquired, half fearing that 1 
was about to be denied an interview with her whom I 
now more than ever longed to embrace. 

' By daybreak,' he replied, not seeming to heed my 
anxious manner. 

' I must look to my horse and arms,' said 1, rising 
and going towards the door, in hopes of meeting her 
without. 

' They have been attended to : Gode is there. Come, 
boy ! She is not in the hall. Stay where you are. I 
will get the arms you want. Adele ! Zoe ! Oh, doctor ! 
you are returned with your weeds ! It is well. We 
journey to-morrow. Adele, some coffee, love ! and 
then let us have some music. Your guest leaves you 
to-morrow.' 

The bright form rushed between us with a scream. 

' No, no, no, no !' she exclaimed, turning from one to 
the other, with the wild appeal of a passionate heart. 

' Come, little dove !' said the father, taking her by 
the hands ; ' do not be so easily fluttered. It is but 
for a short time. He will return again.' 

; How long, papa ? How long, Enrique ?' 

' But a very short while. It will be longer to mo 
than to you, Zoe.' 

' Oh ! no, no ; an hour will be a long time. How 
many hours do you think, Enrique ?' 

' Oh ! we 8hall be gone days, I fear.' 

' Days ! Oh, papa ! Oh, Enrique ! Days !' 

' Come, little chit ; they will soon pass. Go! Help 
your mamma to make the coffet 

' Oh, papa ! Days ; long dayi hey will not soon 
pass when I am alone.' 

I 2 



124 TIIE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

' But you will not be alono. Tour mamma will b« 
with you.' 

5 Ah!' 

And with a sigh, and an air of abstraction, she do- 
parted to obey the command of her father. As she 
passed out at the door, she again sighed audibly. 

The doctor was a silent and wondering spectator of 
this last scene ; and as her figure vanished into the 
hall. I could hear him muttering to himself — 

' Oh, ja ! Poor leetle fraulein ! I thought as mosh. 



CHAPTEK XVIII. 

UP THE DEL NORTE 

I will not distress you with a parting scene. We 
were in our saddles before the stars had died out, and 
riding along the sandy road. 

At a short distance from the house the path angled, 
striking into thick, heavy timber. Here I checked my 
horse, allowing my companions to pass, and standing 
in the stirrup, looked back. My eye wandered along 
the old gray walls, and sought the azotea. Upon the 
very edge of the parapet, outlined against the pale 
light of the aurora, was the object I looked for. I 
could not distinguish the features, but I easily recog- 
nised the oval curvings of the figure, cut like a dark 
medallion against the sky. 

She was standing near one of the yuca palm trees* 
that grew up from the azotea. Her hand rested upon, 
its trunk, and she bent forward, straining her gaze 
into the darkness below. Perhaps she saw the 
waving of a kerchief ; perhaps she heard her name, 
and echoed the parting prayer that was sent bacK to 



UP THE DiX NOETE. i^C 

her on the still breath of the morning. If so, her 
voice was drowned by the tread of my chafing horse, 
that, wheeling suddenly, bore me off into the sombre 
shadows of the forest. 

I rode forward, turning at intervals to catch a 
glimpse of those lovely outlines, but from no other 
point was the house visible. It lay buried in the 
dark majestic woods. I could only see the long 
bayonets of the picturesque palmillas ; and our road 
now descending among hills, these too were soon 
hidden from my view. 

Dropping the bridle, and leaving my horse to go at 
will, I fell into a train of thoughts at once pleasant 
and painful. 

I knew that I had imbibed the love of my life : that 
henceforward in it all my hopes would centre, and 
from it would spring my highest motives. 1 had just 
reached manhood, and I was not ignorant of the 
truth, that pure love like this is the best guide to our 
too erring natures ; the best rein to curb their wild 
wanderings. I was indebted for this knowledge to 
him who had taught me my earliest lessons ; and as 
his experience had already more than once stood me 
in stead, I believed him in this. I have since proved 
the teaching true. 

I knew that I had inspired this young creature with 
a f assion deep and ardent as my own, perhaps more 
vital ; for my heart had passed through other affec- 
tions, while hers had never throbbed with any save 
the subdued solicitudes of a graceful childhood. She 
had never known emotion. Love was her first strong 
feeling, her first passion. Would it not, thus en- 
throned, reign over all other thoughts in ber heart'a 
kingdom ? She, too, so formed for love ; so like it 
mythic goddess ! 



126 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

These reflections were pleasant. But the picture 
darkened as I turned from looking back for the last 
time, and something whispered me, some demon it 
was, ' You may never see her more !' 

The suggestion, even in this hypothetical form, was 
enough to fill my mind with dark forebodings, and I 
began to cast my thoughts upon the future. I was 
going upon no party of pleasure, from which I might 
return at a fixed hour. Dangers were before me, the 
dangers of the desert ; and I knew that these were of 
no ordinary character. In our plans of the previous 
night, Seguin had not concealed the perils of our 
expedition. These he had detailed before exacting 
my final promise to accompany him. Weeks before, I 
would not have regarded them ; they would only have 
lured me on to meet them ; now my feelings were 
different, for I believed that in my life there was 
another's. "What, then, if the demon had whispered 
truly ? I might never see her more ! It was a pain- 
ful thought ; and I rode on, bent in the saddle, under 
the influence of its bitterness. 

But I was once more upon the back of my fa- 
vourite Moro, who seemed to ' know his rider ;' and 
as his elastic body heaved beneath mo, my spirit 
answered his, and began to resume its wonted buoy- 
ancy. 

After a while I took up the reins, and shorten- 
ing them in my hands, spurred on after my com- 
panions. 

Our road lay up the river, crossing the shallow ford 
at intervals, and winding through the bottom-lands,, 
that were heavily timbered. The path was difficult 
on account of the thick underwood ; and although the 
trees had once been ' blazed' for a road, there were no 
6igns of late travel upon it, with the exception of a 



OT> THK DM, XORTfe. 127 

fow solitary horse-tracks. The country appeared 
wild and uninhabited. This was evident from the 
frequency with which deer and antelope swept across 
our path, or sprang out of the underwood close to our 
horses' heads. Here and there our path trended away 
from the river, crossing its numerous ' loops.' Several 
times we passed large tracts where the heavy timber 
had been felled, and 'clearings' had existed. But 
this must have been long ago ; for the land that had 
been furrowed by the plough was now covered with 
tangled and almost impenetrable thickets. A few 
broken and decaying logs, or crumbling walls of the 
adobe, were all that remained to attest where the 
settlers' ' rancho' had stood. 

We passed a ruined church, with its old turrets 
dropping by piecemeal. Piles of adobe lay around, 
covering the ground for acres. A thriving village had 
stood there. Where was it now? Where were tiu. 
busy gossips ? A wild-cat sprang over the brier-Iaeed 
walls, and made off into the forest. An owl flew 
sluggishly up from the crumbling cupola, and hovered 
around our heads, uttering its doleful ' woo-hoo-a,' 
that rendered the desolation of the scene more im- 
pressive. As we rode through the ruin a dead stillness 
surrounded us, broken cnly by the hooting of the 
eight-bird, and the ' cranch-cranch' of our horses' feet 
apon the fragments of pottery that covered the de- 
serted streets. 

But where were they who had once made these 
walls echo with their voices ? Who had knelt under 
the sacred shadow of that once hallowed pile? They 
were gone ; but where ? and when ? and why ? 

I put these questions to Segnin, ar.d was answered 
thus briefly — 
The Indians. ' 



128 TFV; SCALP-HUNTER", 

The savage it was, with his red spear and scalping- 
knife, his bow and his battle-axe, his brand and his 
poisoned arrows. 

' The Xavajoes?' I inquired. 

" Navajo and Apache.' 

' But do they come no more to this place ?' 

A feeling of anxiety had suddenly entered my mind. 
L thought of our proximity to the mansion we had 
left. I thought of its unguarded walls. I waited 
with some impatience for an answer. 

' No more,' was the brief reply. 

'And why ?' I inquired. 

'This is our territory,' he answered, significantly. 
' You are now, monsieur, in a country where live 
strange fellows ; you shall see. "Woe to the Apache 
or Navajo who may stray into these woods !' 

As we rode forward the country became more open, 
and we caught a glimpse of high bluffs trending north 
and south on both sides of the river. These bluffs 
converged till the river channel appeared to be com- 
pletely barred up by a mountain. This was only an 
appearance. On riding farther, we found ourselves 
entering one of those fearful gaps, 'caiions'as they 
are called, so often met with in the table-lands of 
tropical America. 

Through this the river foamed between two vast 
cliffs a thousand feet in height, whese profiles, as you 
approached them, suggested the idea of angry giants, 
separated by some almighty hand, and thus left 
frowning at each other. It was with a feeling of awe 
that one looked up the face of these stupendous cliffs, 
and I felt a shuddering sensation as I neared the 
mighty gate between them. 

' Do you see that point ?' asked Scguin, indicating 
a rock that jutted out from the highest ledge of th» 



UP THE DEL NORTfc. 129 

ihasni. I signified in the affirmative, for the question 
was addressed to myself. 

' That is the leap you were so desirous of taking. 
■We found you dangling against yonder rock. 

' Good God !' I ejaculated, as my eyes rested upon 
the dizzy eminence. My brain grew giddy as 1 sat 
in my saddle gazing upward, and I was fain to ride 
onward. 

' But for your noble horse,' continued my com- 
panion, ' the doctor here would have been stopping 
about this time to hypothecate upon your bones. Ho, 
Moro ! beautiful Moro !' 

' Oh, mcin Gott ! Ya, ya !' assented the botanist, 
looking up against the precipice apparently with a 
feeling of awe, such as I felt myself. 

Seguin had ridden alongside me, and was patting 
my horse on the neck with expressions of admiration. 

' But why ?' I asked, the remembrance of our first 
interview now occurring to me, ' why were you so 
eager to possess him ?' 

' A fancy.' 

' Can I not understand it? I think you said then 
that I could not ?' 

' Oh, yes ! quite easily, monsieur. I intended to 
steal my own daughter, and 1 wanted, for that pur- 
pose, to have the aid of your horse.' 

'But how?' 

' It was before I had heard the news of this intended 
exped'tion of our enemy. As I had no hopes of ob- 
taining her otherwise, it was my design to havo 
entered their country alone, or with a tried comrade, 
and by stratagem to have carried her off. Their 
horses are swift, yet far inferior to the Arab, as you 
may have an opportunity of seeing. With such an 
animal as that, I would havo been comparatively 



130 THE SCALP-HUNTEBfi. 

safe, unless hemmed in or surrounded, and even then 
[ might have got off with a few scratches. I intended 
to have disguised myself, and entered the town as one 
of their own warriors. I have long been master of 
their language.' 

' It would have been a perilous enterprise.' 

' True ! It was a (lender report, and only adopted 
because .all other efforts had failed ; after years of 
yearning, deep-craving of the heart. I might have 
perished. It was a rash thought, but I, at that time, 
entertained it fully.' 

' I hope we shall succeed now.' 

' I have high hopes. It seems as if some overruling 
providence were now acting in my favour. This ab- 
sence of her captors : and besides, my band has been 
most opportunely strengthened by the arrival of a 
number of trappers from the eastern plains. The 
beaver skins have fallen, according to their phraseo- 
logy, to a "plew a plug," and they find 'Ted-skin" 
pays better. Ah ! I hope this will soon be over.' 

And he sighed deeply, as he uttered the last words. 

"We were now at the entrance of the gorge, and a 
shady clump of cotton-woods invited us to rest. 

'Let us noon here,' said Seguin. 

We dismounted, and ran our animals oat on their 
trail-ropes to feed. Then seating ourselves on tha 
soft grass, we drew forth the viands that bad bees 
prepared for our jousasy= 



( 131 > 



CIIAPTEK XDL 

GEOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY. 

We rested above an hour in the cool shade, while our 
horses refreshed themselves on the ' grama ' that grew 
luxuriantly around. We conversed about the singular 
region in which we were travelling: singular in its 
geography, its geology, its botany, and its history: 
singular in all respects. 

I am a traveller, as I might say, by profession. I 
felt an interest in learning something of the wild 
countries that stretched for hundreds of miles around 
us ; and I knew there was no man living so capable of 
being my informant as he with whom I then conversed. 

My journey down the river had made me but littlo 
acquainted with its features. At that time, as I have 
already related, there was fever upon me ; and my 
memory of objects was as though I had encountered 
them in some distorted dream. 

My brain was now clear ; and the scenes through 
which we were passing, here soft and southlike, there 
wild, barren, and picturesque, forcibly impressed my 
imagination. 

The knowledge, too, that parts of this region hfcd 
once been inhabited by the followers of Cortez, as 
many a ruin testified ; that it had been surrendered 
back to its ancient and savage lords, and the inference 
that this surrender had been brought about by the 
enactment of many a tragic scone, induced a train of 
romantic thought, which yearned for gratification in 
an acquaintance with the realities that gave rise to it. 

Seguin w<*s communicative. His sprrits were high 



l32 THE SCALP- HUNTERS. 

His hopes were buoyant. The prospect of again em- 
bracing his long-lost child imbued him, as it were, 
with new life. He had not, he said, felt so happy for 
many years. 

' It is true,' said he, in answer to a question I had 
put, 'there is little known of th s whole region, be 
yond the boundaries of the Mexican settlements. 
They who once had the opportunity of recording its 
geographical features have left the task undone. 
They were too busy in the search for gold ; and their 
weak descendants, as you see, are too busy in robbing 
one another to care for aught else. They know 
nothing of the country beyond their own borders; and 
these are every day contracting upon them. All they 
know of it is the fact that thence come their enemies, 
"whom they dread, as children do ghosts or wolves 

'We are now,' continued Seguin, 'near the centre ot 
the continent, in the very heart of the American 
Sahara.' 

' But,' said I, interrupting him, ' we cannot be more 
than a day's ride south of New Mexico. That is 
not a desert : it is a cultivated country ' 

1 New Mexico is an oasis, nothing more. The desert 
is around it for hundi eds of miles : nay, in some direc- 
tions you may travel a thousand miles from the Del 
Norte without seeing one fertile spot. New Mexico is 
an oasis, which owes its existence to the irrigating 
waters of the Del Xorte. It is the only settlement of 
white men from the frontiers of the Mississippi to the 
shores of the Pacific in California. You approached 
it by a desert, did you not ?' 

' Yes. As we as tended from the Mississippi towards 
the Eocky Mountains, the country became gradually 
more sterile. For the last three hundred miles or so, 
wc could scarcely find grass or water for the sustenance 



GEOGRAPHY AND GEOLOG1 133 

of out animals. But is it thus north and riouth of the 
route we travelled ?' 

' North and south for more than a thousand miles, 
from the plains of Texas to the lakes of Canada, along 
the whole base of the Eocky Mountains, and half way 
to the settlements on the Mississippi, it is a treeless, 
herbless land.' 

' To the west of the mountains ?' 

'Fifteen hundred miles of desert : that is its length, 
by at least half as many miles of breadth. The country 
to the west is of a different character. It is more 
broken in its outlines, more mountainous, and if pos- 
sible more sterile in its aspect. The volcanic fires 
have been more active there ; and though that may 
have been thousands of years ago, the igneous rocks 
in many places look as if freshly upheaved. No vege- 
tation, no climatic action has sensibly changed the 
hues of the lava and scorife that in some places cover 
the plains for miles. I say no climatic action, for 
there is but little of that in this central region.' 

' I do not understand you.' 

' "What I mean is, that there is but little atmospheric 
change. It is but one uniform drought ; it is seldom 
tempestuous or rainy. I know some districts where a 
drop of rain has not fallen for years.' 

' And can you account for that phenomenon ?' 

' I have my theory. It may not satisfy the learned 
meteorologist, but I will offer it to you.' 

I listened with attention, for I knew that my com- 
panion was a man of science, as of experience and 
observation, and subjects of the character of those 
about which we conversed had always possessed great 
interest for me. He continued — 

' There can be no rain without vapour in the air. 
There can be no vapour in the air without water on 



134 THE SCALP-HUNTKKS. 

the earih below to produce it. Here there is no 
great body of water. 

' Nor can there be. The whole region of the desert 
is upheaved: an elevated table-land. AVe are now 
nearly six thousand feet above sea level. Hence its 
springs are few ; and by hydraulic law must be fed by 
its own waters, or those of some region still more 
elevated, which does not exist on the continent. 

' Could I create vast seas in this region, walled in 
by the lofty mountains that traverse it, and such seas 
existed coeval with its formation ; could I create those 
seas without giving them an outlet, not even allowing 
the smallest rill to drain them, in process of time they 
would empty themselves into the ocean, and leave 
everything as it now is, a desert.' 

'But how? by evaporation?' 

' On the contrary, the absence of evaporation would 
be the cause of their drainage. I believe it has been 
bo already.' 

' I cannot understand that.' 

' It is simply thus : this region possesses, as we have 
said, great elevation ; consequently a cool atmosphere, 
and a much less evaporating power than that which 
draws up the water of the ocean. Now, there would 
be an interchange of vapour between the ocean and 
these elevated seas, by means of winds and currents ; 
tor it is only by that means that any water can reach 
this interior plateau. That interchange would result 
in favour of the inland seas, by reason of their less 
evaporation, as well as from other causes. "We have 
not time, or I could demonstrate such a result. I beg 
you will admit it, then, and reason it out at your 
leisure.' 

' I perceive the truth : I perceive it at once.' 

' What follows, then ? These seas would gradually 



GEOGRAPHY AND GE0L0O1T. 135 

til] up to overflowing. The first little rivulot that 
trickled forth from their lipping fulness woull be the 
signal of their destruction. It would cut iia channel 
over the ridge of the lofty mountain, tiny at first, but 
deepening and widening with each successive shower, 
until, after many years — ages, centuries, cycles perhaps 
— a great gap such as this ' (here Seguin pointed to the 
cation), ' and the dry plain behind it, would alone exist 
to puzzle the geologist.' 

' And you think that the plains lying among the 
Andes and the Eocky Mountains are the dry beds of 
seas ?' 

' I doubt it not : seas formed after the upheaval of 
the ridges that barred them in, formed by rains from 
the ocean ; at first shallow, then deepening, until they 
had risen to the level of their mountain barriers ; and. 
as I have described, cut their way back again to the 
ocean.' 

' But does not one of these seas still exist ?' 

' The Great Salt Lake ? It does. It lies north-west 
of us. Not only one, but a system of lakes, springs, 
and rivers, both salt and fresh ; and these have no 
outlet to the ocean. They are barred in by highlands 
and mountains, of themselves forming a complete geo- 
graphical system.' 

' Does not that destroy your theory ?' 

'Mo. The basin in which this phenomenon exists 
is on a lower level than most of the desert plateaux, 
Its evaporating power is equal to the influx of its own 
rivers, and consequently neutralises their effect : that 
is to say, in its exchange of vapour with the ocean, it 
gives as much as it receives. This arises, not so much 
from its low elevation as fcom the peculiar dip of the 
mountains that guide the waters into its bosom. Place 
it in a colder position, caterii varibus, &H in time it 



136 THE SCALP-HUNTKRS. 

would cut the canal for its own drainage. So with 
the Caspian Sea, the Aral, and the Dead Sea. No, my 
friend, the existence of the Salt Lake supports my 
theory. Around its shores lies a fertile country; 
fertile from the quick returns of its own waters mois- 
tening it with rain. It exists only to a limited extent, 
and cannot influence the whole region of the desert, 
which lies parched and sterile, on account of its great 
distance from the ocean.' 

'But does not the vapour rising from the ocean 
float over the desert ?' 

' It does, as I have said, to some extent, else there 
would be no rain here. Sometimes by extraordinary 
causes, such as high winds, it is carried into the heart 
of the continent in large masses. Then we have 
storms, and fearful ones too. But, generally, it is 
only the skirt of a cloud, so to speak that reaches 
thus far ; and that combined with the proper evapo- 
ration of the region itself, that is, from its own springs 
and rivers, yields all the rain that falls upon it. Great 
bodies of vapour, rising from the Pacific and drifting 
eastward, first impinge upon the coast range, and 
there deposit their waters ; or perhaps they are more 
highly heated, and soaring above the tops of these 
mountains, travel farther. They will be intercepted a 
hundred miles farther on by the loftier ridges of the 
Sierra Xevada, and carried back, as it were, captive, 
to the ocean by the streams of the Sacramento and 
San Joaquim. It is only the skirt of these clouds, as 
T have termed it, that, soaring still higher, and es- 
caping the attractive influence of the Nevada, floats 
on, and falls into the desert region. What then? 
No sooner has it fallen than it hurries back to the 
aea by the Gila and Colorado, to rise again and fer- 
tilise the slopes of the Xevada while the fragment of 



GKOGUAI'HY AND GEOLOGY. 137 

some other cloud drifts its scanty supply over the arid 
uplands of the interior, to be spent in rain or snow 
upon the peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Hence tbe 
source of the rivers running east and west, and hence 
the oases, such as tl - e 'parks' that lie among these 
mountains. Hence the fertile valleys upon the Pel 
Norte, and other streams that thinly meander through 
this central land. 

4 Vapour-clouds from the Atlantic undergo a similar 
detention in crossing the Alleghany range ; or cooling, 
after having circled a great distance round the globe, 
descend into the valleys of the Ohio and Mississippi. 
From all sides of this great continent, as you approacli its 
ventre, fertility declines, and only from the want of 
water. The soil in many places, where there is 
scarcely a blade of grass to be seen, possesses all the 
elements of vegeta + .icn. So the doctor will tell you ; 
he has analysed it.' 

' Ya, ya ! dat ish true,' quietly affirmed the doctor. 

' There are many oases,' continued Seguin ; ' and 
where water can be used to irrigate the soil, luxuriant 
vegetation is the consequence. You have observed 
this, no doubt, in travelling down the river ; and such 
was the case in the old Spanish settlements on the 
Gila.' 

' But why were these abandoned ?' I inquired, never 
having heard any reason assigned for the desertion ot 
these once flourishing colonies. 

' Why !' echoed Seguin, with a pecular energy ; 
' why ! Unless some other race than the Iberian take 
possession of these lands, the Apache, the Navajo, and 
the Cumanche, the conquered of Cortez and his con- 
querors, will yet drive the descendants of those very 
conquerors from the soil of Mexico. Look at Sonora 
and Chihuahua, half depopulated ! Look at New 



138 THE SCALP- HUNTERS. 

Mexico ; its citizens living by sufferance : living, as it 
were, to till the land and feed the flocks for the 
support of their own enemies, who levy their black- 
mail by the year ! But, come ; the sun tells us wo 
uiust on. Come ! 

'Mount! we can go through,' continued he. 
• There has been no rain lately, and the water is low, 
otherwisj we should have fifteen miles of a ride over 
the mountain yonder. Keep close to the rocks ! 
Foliow me !' 

And with this admonition he entered the caiion, 
followed by myself, Gode, and the doctor. 



CHAPTEK XX. 



THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 



It was still early in the evening when we reached the 
camp — the camp of the scalp-hunters. Our arrival 
was scarcely noticed. A single glance at us, as we 
rode in amongst the men, was all the recognition wo 
received. No one rose from his seat or ceased his 
occupation. We were left to unsaddle our horses and 
dispose of them as best we might. 

I was wearied with the ride, having been so long 
unused to the saddle. I threw my blanket on the 
ground, and sat down, resting my back against the 
stump of a tree. I could have slept, but the strange- 
ness oi everything around me excited my imagination, 
and, with feelings of curiosity, I looked and listened. 

I should call the pencil to my aid to give you an 
'dea of the scene, and that would but faintly illustrate 
»t. A wilder and more picturesque coup-d'oeil never 



miL SCALP -HUNTERS. 139 

iraprcf sed human vision. It reminded me oi pictures 
I had seen representing the bivouacs of brigands under 
the dark pines of the Abruzzi. 

I paint from a recollection that looks back over 
many years of adventurous life. I can give only the 
more salient points of the picture. The petite detail is 
forgotten, although at that time the minutest objects-: 
were things new and strange to my eye, and each of 
them for a while fixed my attention. I afterwards 
grew familiar with them ; and hence they are now in 
my memory, as a multitude of other things, indistinct 
from their very distinctness. 

The camp was in a bend of the Del Norte, in a 
glade surrounded by tall cotton-woods, whose smooth 
trunks rose vertically out of a thick underwood of 
palmettoes and Spanish bayonet. A few tattered 
tents stood in the open ground ; and there were skin 
lodges after the Indian fashion. But most of the 
hunters had made their shelter with a buffalo-robe 
stretched upon four upright poles. There were ' lairs' 
among the underwood, constructed of branches, and 
thatched with the palmated leaves of the yuca, or 
with reeds brought from the adjacent river. 

There were paths leading out in different directions, 
marked by openings in the foliage. Through one of 
these a green meadow was visible. Mules and 
mustangs, picketed on long trail-ropes, were clustered 
over it. 

Through the camp were seen the saddles, bridles, 
and packs, resting upon stumps or hanging from the 
branches. Guns leaned against the trees, and rusted 
sabres hung suspended over the tents and lodges. 
Articles of camp furniture, such as pans, kettles, and 
axes, littered the ground in every direction. 

Log fires were burning. Around them sat clusters 

k 2 



140 THE RCXLP HUNTERS. 

of men. They were not seeking warmth, for it was 
not cold. They were roasting ribs of venison, or 
smoking odd-fashioned pipes. Some were scouring 
their arms and accoutrements. 

The accents of many languages fell upon my ear. 
I heard snatches of French, Spanish, English, and 
Indian. The exclamations were in character with 
the appearance of those who uttered them. 'Hilloa, 
Dick ! hang it, old hoss, what are ye 'bout ?' ' Sacre ! 
enfant de garce !' ' Carrambo !' ' Tardieu, monsieur ! ' 
' By the 'tarnal airthquake !' ' Vaya ! hombre, vaya !' 
* Carajo!' 'By Gosh!' Santissima Maria !' 'Sacr-r-re!' 

It seemed as if the different nations had sent repre- 
sentatives to contest the supremacy of their shibbo- 
leths. 

I was struck with three groups. A particular 
language prevailed in each ; and there was a homo- 
geneousness about the costumes of the men composing 
bach. That nearest me conversed in the Spanish 
language. They were Mexicans. I will desciibe the 
dress of one, as I remember it. 

Cahoneros of green velvet. These are cut after the 
fashion of sailor-trousers, short waist, tight round the 
hips, and wide at the bottoms, where they are 
strengthened by black leather stamped and stitched 
ornamentally. The outer seams are split from hip to 
thigh, slashed with braid, and set with rows of silver 
castle-tops. These seams are open, for the evening is 
warm, and underneath appear the cukoncittos of white 
muslin, hanging in wide folds around the ankles. 
The boot is of calf-skin, tanned, but not blackened. 
It is reddish, rounded at the toe, and carries a spur at 
least a pound in weight, with a rowel three inches in 
diameter ! The spur is curiously fashioned, and fas- 
tened to the boot by straps of stamped leather. 



THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 141 

Little bells, campanulas, hang from the teeth of the 
rowels, and tinkle at the slightest motion of the foot ! 
Look upward. The calzoneros are not braced, but 
fastened at the waist by a silken sash or scarf. It is 
scarlet. It is passed several times round the body, 
and made fast behind, where the fringed ends hang 
gracefully over the left hip. There is no vest. A 
jacket of dark cloth embroidered and tightly fitting, 
short behind, a la Grecyue, leaving the shirt to puff 
out over the scarf. The shirt itself, with its broad 
collar and flowered front, exhibits the triumphant 
skill of some dark-eyed poblana. Over all this is the 
broad-brimmed shadowy sombrero ; a heavy hat of 
black glaze, with its thick band of silver bullion. 
There are tags of the same metal stuck in the sides, 
giving it an appearance altogether unique. Over one 
shoulder is hanging, half-folded, the picturesque 
scrape. A belt and pouch, an cscopette upon which 
the hand is resting, a waist-belt with a pair of small 
pistols stuck under it, a long Spanish knife suspended 
obliquely across the left hip, complete the tout ensemble 
of him whom I have chosen to describe. 

It may answer as a characteristic of the dress of 
many of his companions, those of the group that was 
nearest me. There was variety in their habiliments, 
yet the national costume of Mexico was traceable in 
all. Some wore leathern calzoneros, with a spencer 
or jerkin of the same material, close both in front and 
behind. Some carried, instead of the pictured serape, 
the blanket of the Navajoes, with its broad black 
stripes. Suspended from the shoulders of others hung 
the beautiful and graceful manga. Some were mocas- 
eined ; while a few of the inferior men wore the sim- 
ple guarache, the sandal of the Aztecs. 

The countenances of these men were swarth and 



J i 2 THE SCAIP-HUNTERS. 

savage looking, their hair long, straight, and black aa 
the wing of a crow ; while both beard and moustache 
grew wildly over their faces. Fierce dark eyes 
gleamed under the broad brims of their hats. Few of 
them were men of high stature ; yet there was a 
litheness in their bodies that showed them to be capa- 
ble of great activity. Their frames were well knit, 
and inured to fatigues and hardships. They were all, 
or nearly all, natives of the Mexican border, frontier- 
men, who had often closed in deadly fight with the 
Indian foe. They were ciboleros, vaqueros, rancheros, 
monteros ; men who in their frequent association with 
the mountain men, the Gallic and Saxon hunters from 
the eastern plains, had acquired a degree of daring 
which by no means belongs to their own race. They 
were the chivalry of the Mexican frontier. 

They smoked cigaritas, rolling them between their 
fingers in husks of maize. They played monte on 
their spread blankets, staking their tobacco. They 
cursed, and cried ' Carajo !' when they lost, and thanks 
to the ' Santissima Virgin' when the cards were pulled 
out in their favour ! 

Their language was a Spanish patois : their voices 
were sharp and disagreeable. 

At a short distance from these was the second 
group that attracted my attention. The individuals 
composing this were altogether different from the 
former. They were different in every essential point : 
in voice, dress, language, and physiognomy. Theirs 
was the Anglo-American face, at a glance. These were 
the trappers, the prairie hunters, the mountain men. 

Let us again choose a type that may answer for a 
description of all. 

He stands leaning ou his long straight rifle, looking 
into the fire. He is six feet in his mocassins, and of a 



THE SCALP -HUNTEKS. 143 

.AZxi that suggests the idea of strengtl and Saxon 
ancestry. His arms are like young oaks, and his 
***-4, grasping the muzzle of his gun, is large, flesh- 
tesii, and muscular. His cheek is broad and firm. It 
is partially covered by a bushy whisker that meets 
over the chin and fringes all around the lips. It is 
neither fair nor dark, but of a dull-brown colour, 
lighter around the mouth, where it has been bleached 
by the sun, ' ambeer,' and water. The eye is grey, or 
bluish grey, small, and slightly crowed at the corner 
Tt is well set, and rarely wanders. It seems to look 
into you, rather than at you. The hair is brown, and 
of a medium length (cut, no doubt, on his last visit to 
the trading post, or the settlements) ; and the com- 
plexion, although dark as that of a mulatto, is only so 
from tan. It was once fair : a blonde. The counte- 
nance is not unprepossessing. It might be styled 
handsome. Its whole expression is bold, but good- 
humoured and generous. 

The dress of the individual described is of home 
manufacture ; that is, of his home, the prairie and 
the wild mountain park, where the material has been 
bought by a bullet from his rifle. It is the work of 
his own hands, unless indeed he may be one who, in 
his moments of lassitude, has shared his cabin with 
some Indian damsel, Sioux, Crow, or Cheyenne. 

It consists of a hunting-shirt of dressed deer-skin, 
smoked to the softness of a glove ; leggings, reaching 
to the waist, and mocassins of the same material ; 
the latter soled with the parflSche of the buffalo. The 
shirt is belted at the waist, but open at the breast 
and throat, where it falls back into a graceful cape 
just covering the shoulders. Underneath is seen the 
under-shirt, of finer material, the dressed skin of the 
antelope, or the fawn of the fallow-deer. On his head 



144 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

is a racoon cap, with the face of the animal koking. 
to the front, while the barred tail hangs like a plume 
drooping down to his left shoulder. 

His accoutrements are, a bullet pouch made from, 
the undressed skin of the mountain cat, and a huge 
crescent-shaped horn, upon which he has carved 
many a strange souvenir. His arms consist of a long 
knife, a bowie, and a heavy pistol, carefully secured 
by a holster to the leathern belt around his waist. 
Add to this a rifle nearly five feet long, taking ninety 
to the pound, and so straight that the line of the 
barrel scarcely deflects from that of the butt. 

But little attention has been paid to ornament in 
either his dress, arms, or equipments ; and yet there 
is a gracefulness in the hang of his tunic-like shirt ; a 
stylishness about the fringing of the cape and leg- 
gings ; and a jauntiness in the set of that coon skin 
cap that shows the wearer to be not altogether un- 
mindful of his personal appearance. A small pouch 
or case, neatly embroidered with stained porcupine 
quills, hangs upon his breast. 

At intervals he contemplates this with a pleased 
and complacent look. It is his pipe-holder : a love- 
token from some dark-eyed, dark-haired damsel, no 
doubt, like himself a denizen of the wild wilderness. 
Such is the tout ensemble of a mountain trapper. 

There were many around him whom I have de- 
scribed almost similarly attired and equipped. Somo 
wore slouch hats of greyish felt, and some catskin 
caps. Some had hunting-shirts bleached to a brighter 
hue, and broidered with gayer colours. Others looked 
nore tattered and patched, and smoky ; yet in the 
costume of all there was enough of character to enable 
you to class them. There was no possibility of mis- 
Aking the regular ' mountain man.' 



THE SCAU'-irO.N TEES. 148 

The third group that attracted my attention was at 
a greater distance from the spot I occupied. I wa§ 
filled with curiosity, not to say astonishment, on per- 
ceiving that they were Indians. 

'Can they be prisoners?' thought I. 'No; they 
are not bound. There are no signs of captivity either 
in their looks or gestures, and yet they are Indians. 
Can they belong to the band, fighting against ?' 

As I sat conjecturing, a hunter passed near me. 

'Who are these Indians?' I asked, indicating the 
group. 

' Dela wares : some Shawnees.' 

These, then, were the celebrated Delawares : de- 
scendants of that great tribe who, on the Atlantic 
shores, first gave battle to the pale-faced invader. 
Theirs has been a wonderful history. War their 
school, war their worship, war their pastime, war 
their profession. They are now but a remnant. 
Their story will soon be ended. 

I rose up, and approached them with a feeling oi 
interest. Some of them were sitting around the fire, 
smoking out of curiously-carved pipes of the red clay- 
stone. Others strode back and forth with that majes- 
tic gait for which the ' forest' Indian has been so much 
celebrated. There was a silence among thom that 
contrasted strangely with the jabbering kept up by 
their Mexican allies. An occasional question put in a 
deep-toned sonorous voice, a short but emphatic reply, 
a guttural grunt, a dignified nod, a gesture with the 
hand ; and thus they conversed, as they filled their 
pipe-bowls with the kini-kin-ik, and passed the valued 
instruments from one to another. 

I stood gazing upon these stoical sons of the forest 
with emotions stronger than curiosity ; as one con- 
templates for the first time an object of which he has 



146 THE SCA1.P-I1UNTEES. 

heard and read strange accounts. The history of thefe 
wars and their wanderings were fresh in my memory, 
Before me were the actors themselves, or types ol 
them, in all their truthful reality, in all their wild 
picturesqueness. These were the men who, driven 
from their homes by the Atlantic border, yielded only 
to fate : to the destiny of their race. Crossing the 
Appalachian range, they had fought their way from 
home to home, down the steep sides of the Alleghany, 
along the wooded banks of the Ohio, into the heart of 
the ' Bloody Ground.' Still the pale-faced followed^ 
on their track, and drove them onward, onward 
towards the setting sun. Red wars, Punic faith, 
broken treaties, year after year thinned their ranks. 
Still, disdaining to live near their white conquerors, 
they pushed on, fighting their way through tribes of 
their own race and colour thrice their numbers ! The 
forks of the Osage became their latest resting-place. 
Here the usurper promised to guarantee them a home, 
to be theirs to all time. The concession came too 
late. War and wandering had grown to be part of 
their natures ; and with a scornful pride they dis- 
dained the peaceful tillage of the soil. The remnant 
of their tribe was collected on the Osage, but in one 
season it had disappeared. The braves and young 
men wandered away, leaving only the old, the women, 
and the worthless, in their allotted home. Where 
have they gone? Where are they now? He who 
would find the Delawares must seek them on the 
broad prairies, in the mountain parks, in the haunts 
of the bear and the beaver, the bighorn and the 
buffalo. There he may find them, in scattered bands, 
'eagued with their ancient, enemies the whites, or 
alone ; trapping, hunting, fighting the Yuta or Eapaho, 
the Crow or Cheyenne, the Navajo and the Apachs. 



THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 147 

I stood gazing upon the group with feeliugs of pro- 
found interest: upon their features and their pictu- 
resque habiliments. Though no two of them were 
dressed exactly alike, there was a similarity about tho 
dress of all. Most of them wore hunting-shirts, not 
made of deerskin, like those of the whites, but of calico, 
printed in bright patterns. This dress, handsomely 
fashioned and fringed, under the accoutrements of tho 
Indian warrior, presented a striking appearance. But 
that which chiefly distinguished the costumes of both 
the Delaware and Shawano from that of their white 
allies was the head-dress. This was, in fact, a turban, 
formed by binding the head with a scarf or kerchief 
of a brilliant colour : such as may be seen on the dark 
Creoles of Hayti. In the group before me no two ot 
these turbans were alike, yet they were all of a similar 
character. The finest were those made by the clie 
quered kerchiefs of Madras. Plumes surmounted 
them of coloured feathers from the wing of the wik 
eagle, or the blue plumage of the gruya. 

For the rest of their costume they wore deerskin 
leggings and mocassins, nearly similar to those of the 
Vrappers. The leggings of some were ornamented by 
scalp locks along the outer seam, exhibiting a dark 
history of the wearer's prowess. I noticed that their 
mocassins were peculiar, differing altogether from 
those worn by the Indians of the prairies. They were 
seamed up the fronts, without braiding or ornament, 
and gathered into a double row of plaits. 

The arms and equipments of these warrior men wero 
like those of the white hunters. They have long since 
discarded the bow; and in the management of the 
rifle most of them can ' draw a bead ' and hit ' plumb 
centre' with any of their mountain associates. In 
addition to the firelock and knife, I noticed that tho.v 



148 THE SCAIJ*-H'JNTKBS. 

etill carried the ancient weapon of their race, th« 
fearful tomahawk. 

I have described three characteristic groups that 
struck me on glancing over the camp ground. There 
were individuals belonging to neither, and others 
partaking of the character of one or all. There were 
Frenchmen, Canadian voyageurs, strays of the north- 
west company, wearing white capotes, and chattering, 
dancing, and singing their boat songs with all the 
esprit of their race. There were pueblos, Indios 
manzos, clad in their ungraceful tilmas, and rather 
serving than associating with those around them. 
There were nmlattoes, too ; and negroes of a jetty 
blackness from the plantations of Louisiana, who had 
exchanged for this free roving life the twisted ' cow- 
skin ' of the overseer. There were tattered uniforms 
showing the deserters who had wandered from som« 
frontier post into this remote region. There wer» 
Kanakas from the Sandwich Isles, who had crosse( 
the deserts from California. There were men appa 
rently of every hue and clime and tongue here assem 
bled, drawn together by the accidents of life, by the 
instinct of adventure ; all more or less strange indivi- 
duals of the strangest band it has ever been my lot te 
witness : ih* b<v»d c f the Scaw-hustebs 1 



i *±* ) 



CHAPTEK XXI. 

SHARP-SHOO TING. 

I Had returned to my blanket, and was aboat tc stretck 
myself upon it, when the whoop of a gruya' drew 
my attention. Looking up, I saw one of these birds 
Hying towards the camp. It was coming through a 
break in the trees that opened from the river. It flew 
'ow, and tempted a shot with its broad wings and slow 
lazy flight. 

A report rang upon the air. One of the Mexicans 
had fired his escopette ; but the bird flew on, plying 
Its wings with more energy, as if to bear itself ont of 
reach. 

There was a laugh from the trappers, and a voice 
cried out — 

' Yur cussed fool ! D' yur think 'ee kud hit a spread 
blanket wi' that beetle-shaped blunderbox? Pish !' 

I turned to 6ee who had delivered this odd speech. 
Two men were poising their rifles, bringing them to 
bear upon the bird. One was the young hunter whom 
I have described. The other was an Indian whom I 
had not seen before. 

The cracks were simultaneous ; and the crane, 
dropping its long neck, came whirling down among 
the trees, where it caught upon a high branch, and 
remained. 

From their position, neither parly knew that the 
other had fired. A tent was between them, and the 
two reports had seemed as one. A trapper cried oat — 



160 THE SO&IP-HUNTERS. 

'Well done, Garey! Lord help the tiring that's 
ifore old Killbar's muzzle when you squints through 
her hind-sights.' 

The Indian just then stepped round the tent. 
Hearing this side speech, and perceiving the smoke 
still oozing from the muzzle of the young hunter's 
gun, he turned to the latter with the interrogation — 

' Did you fire, sir ?' 

This was said in well-accentuated and most un- 
Indian-like English, which would have drawn my 
attention to the man had not his singularly-imposing 
appearance riveted me already. 

' Who is he ? I inquired from one near me. 

' Don't know ; fresh arriv',' was the short answer. 

' Do you mean that he is a stranger here ?' 

' Just so. He kumb in thar a while agone. Don i 
b'lieve anybody knows him. I guess the captain 
does ; I seed them shake hands.' 

I looked at the Indian with increasing interest. Ho 
seemed a man of about thirty years of age, and not 
much under seven feet in height. He was proportioned 
like an Apollo, and, on this account, appeared smaller 
than he actually was. His features were of the Roman 
type ; and his fine forehead, his aquiline nose and 
broad jaw-bone, gave him the appearance of talent as 
well as firmness and energy. He was dressed in a 
hunting-shirt, leggings and mocassins ; but all these 
differed from anything worn either by the hunters or 
their Indian allies. The shirt itself was made out of 
the dressed hide of the red deer, but differently pre- 
pared from that used by the trappers. It was bleached 
almost to the whiteness of a kid glove. The breast, 
unlike theirs, was close, and beautifully embroidered 
with stained porcupine quills. The sleeves were 
similarly ornamented ; and the cape and skirts were 



SHARP-SHOOTIXO. 151 

trimmed with the soft, snow-white fur of the ermine. 
A row of entire skins of that animal hung from the 
skirt border, forming a fringe both graceful and costly. 
But the most singular feature about this man was his 
hair. It fell loosely over his shoulders, and swept the 
ground as he walked ! It could not have been less 
than seven feet in length. It was black, glossy, and 
luxuriant, and reminded me of the tails of those great 
Flemish horses I had seen in the funeral carriages of 
London. 

He wore upon his head the war-eagle bonnet, with 
its full circle of plumes : the finest triumph of savage 
taste. This magnificent head-dress added to the 
majesty of his appearance. 

A white buffalo robe hung from his shoulders, with 
all the graceful draping of a toga. Its silky fur cor- 
responded to the colour of his dress, and contrasted 
strikingly with his own dark tresses. 

There were other ornaments about his person. His 
arms and accoutrements were shining with metallic 
brightness, and the stock and butt of his rifle were 
richly inlaid with silver. 

I have been thus minute in my description, as the 
first appearance of this man impressed me with a 
picture that can never be effaced from my memory. 
He was the beau ideal of a picturesque and romantic 
savage ; and yet there was nothing savage either in 
his speech or bearing. On the contrary, the interro- 
gation which he had just addressed to the trapper was 
put in the politest manner. The reply was not so 
courteous. 

' Did I fire ? Didn't ye hear a crack ? Didn't ye 
see the thing fall ? Look yonder !' 

Garey, as he spoke, pointed up to the bird. 
We must have fired simultaneously.' 



152 THE SCALP-HUN rERB. 

As the Indian said this, he appealed to his gun, 
which was still smoking at the muzzle. 

' Look hyar, Injun ! whether we fired symultain- 
yously, or extraneously, or cattawampously, ain't the 
flappin' o' a beaver's tail to me ; but I tuk sight on that 
bird ; I hut that bird ; and 'twar my bullet 'wought 
the thing down.' 

' I think I must have hit it too,' replied the Indian, 
modestly. 

' That's like, with that ar' spangled gimcrack !' said 
Garey, looking disdainfully at the other's gun, and 
then proudly at his own brown weather-beaten piece, 
■which he had just wiped, and was about to reload. 

' Gimcrack or no,' answered the Indian, ' she sends a 
bullet straighter and farther than any piece I have 
hitherto met with. I'll warrant she has sent hers 
through the body of the crane.' 

Look hyar, mister ; for I s'pose we must call a 
gentleman '• mister" who speaks so fine an' looks so 
fine, tho' he be's an Injun ; it's mighty easy to settle 
who hut the bird. That thing's a fifty, or tharabouts ; 
Killbar's a ninety. 'Taint hard to tell which has 
plugged the varmint. "We'll soon see ;' and so saying, 
the hunter stepped off towards the tree on which 
hung the gruya, high up. 

' How are you to get it down ?' cried one of the 
men, who had stepped forward to witness the settle- 
ment of this curious dispute. 

There was no reply, for every one saw that Garey 
was poising his rifle for a shot. The crack followed ; 
and the branch, shivered by his bullet, bent down- 
ward under the weight of the gruya. But the bird, 
caught in a double fork, still stuck fast on the broken 
limb. 

A murmur of approbation folio wed the shot These 



511 ARP-SH0OT1NG . ] 53 

were men not accustomed to hurrah loudly at a trivial 
incident. 

The Indian now approached, having reloaded hig 
piece. Taking aim, he struck the branch at the shat- 
tered point, cutting it clean from the tree ! The bird 
fell to the ground, amidst expressions of applause from 
the spectators, but chiefly from the Mexican and 
Indian hunters. It was at once picked up and ex- 
amined. Tivo bullets had passed through its body. Either 
would have killed it. 

A shadow of unpleasant feeling was visible on the 
face of the young trapper. In the presence of so 
many hunters of every nation, to be thus equalled, 
beaten in the use of his favourite weapon, and by an 
' Injun ;' still worse, by one of ' them 'ar gingerbread 
guns !' The mountain men have no faith in an orna- 
mented stock or a big bore. Spangled rifles, they say, 
are like spangled razors, made for selling to ' green- 
horns.' It was evident, however, that the strange 
Indian's rifle had been made to shoot as well. 

It required all the strength of nerve, which tho 
trapper possessed to conceal his chagrin. Without 
saying a word, he commenced wiping out his gun, 
with that stoical calmness peculiar to men of his 
calling. I observed that he proceeded to load with 
more than usual care. It was evident that he would 
not rest satisfied with the trial already made, but 
would either beat the ' Injun' or be himself ' whipped 
into shucks.' So he declared, in a muttered speech to 
his comrades. 

His piece was soon loaded ; and, swinging her to 
the hunter's carry, he turned to the crowd, now col- 
lected from all parts of the camp. 

' Thar's one kind o' shoot-in',' said he, ' that's jest as 
easy as fallin' off a log. Any man kin do it as km 

L 



l.,4 THE SCAl.£-nUXTEKS. 

look straight through hind-sights. But then thar'd 
another kind that ain't so easy ; it needs narve.' 

Here the trapper paused, and looked towards the 
'••dian, who was also reloading. 

'Look hyar, stranger !' continued he, addressing the 
latter. ' Have ye got a cuinmarade on the ground as 
knows yer shooting 7 

The Indian, after a moment's hesitation, answered 
Yes.' 
Kin your cuinmerade depend on yer shot ?' 

' Oh ! I think so. Why do you wish to know that?' 

' Why, I'm a-going to show ye a shot we sometimes 
practise at Bent's Fort, jest to tickle the greenhorns. 
Taint much o' a shot, nayther ; but it tries the narves 
a little, I reckon. Hoy ! Bube !' 

' D n yur ! what doo 'ee want ?' 

This was spoken in an energetic and angry-like 
voice, that turned all eyes to the quarter whence it 
proceeded. At the first glance, there seemed to be no 
one in that direction. In looking more carefully 
among the logs and stumps, an individual was dis- 
covered seated by one of the fires. It would have 
been difficult to tell that it was a human body, had 
not the arms at the moment been in motion. The 
back was turned toward the crowd, and the head had 
disappeared, sunk forward over the fire. The object, 
from where we were standing, looked more like tho 
stump of a cotton-wood, dressed in dirt-coloured buck- 
skin, than the body of a human being. On getting 
nearer, and round to the front of it, it was seen to be 
a man, though a very curious one, holding a long rib 
of deer-meat in both hands, which he was polishing 
with a very poor set of teeth. 

The whole appearance of Ibis individual was odd 
Rod striking. His dress, if dress it could be ?alled, 



SHAHP-SHOOriXG. 155 

was simple as it was savage. It consisted of what 
might have once been a hunting-shirt, but which now 
looked more like a leathern bag with the bottom 
ripped open, and sleeves sewed into the sides. It was 
of a dirty-brown colour, wrinkled at the hollow of tho 
arms, patched round the armpits, and greasy all over : 
it was fairly ' caked ' with dirt ! There was no 
attempt at either ornament or fringe. There had 
been a cape, but this had evidently been drawn upon 
from time to time, for patches and other uses, until 
scarcely a vestige of it remained. The leggings and 
mocassins were on a par with the shirt, and seemed to 
have been manufactured out of the same hide. They 
too were dirt-brown, patched, wrinkled, and greasy. 
They did not meet each other, but left a piece of the 
ankle bare, and that also was dirt-brown, like the 
buck-skin. There was no under-shirt, vest, or other 
garment to be seen, with the exception of a close- 
fitting cap, which had once been catskin, but the hair 
was all worn off it, leaving a greasy, leathery-looking 
surface, that corresponded well with the other parte 
of the dress. Cap, shirt, leggings, and mocassins, 
looked as if they had never been stripped off since the 
day they were first tried on, and that might have been 
many a year ago. The shirt was open, displaying the 
naked breast and throat, and these, as well as the 
face, hands, and ankles, had been tanned by the sun. 
and smoked by the fire, to the hue of rusty copper. 
The whole man, clothes and all, looked as if he had 
been smoked on purpose ! 

His face bespoke a man of sixty. The features 
were sharp and somewhat aquiline : and the small eye 
was dark, quick, and piercing. His hair was black 
and cut short. His complexion had been naturally 
brunette though there was nothing of the Frenchman 

l 2 



156 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

or Spaniard in his physiognomy. He was more 
likely of the black Saxon breed. 

As I looked at this man (for I had walked 
towards him, prompted by some instinct of curiosity), 
I began to fancy that there was a strangeness 
about him, independent of the oddness of his 
attire. There seemed to be something peculiar 
about his head, something wanting. What was 
it? I was not long in conjecture. "When fairly 
in front of him, I saw what was wanting. It was his 
ears ! 

This discovery impressed me with a feeling akin to 
awe. There is something awful in a man without his 
ears. It suggests some horrid drama, some terrible 
scene of cruel vengeance. It suggests the idea of 
crime committed and punishment inflicted. 

These thoughts were wandering through my mind, 
when all at once I remembered a remark which Seguin 
had made on the previous night. This, then, thought 
I, is the person of whom he spoke. My mind was 
satisfied. 

After making answer as above, the old fellow sat 
for some time with his head between his knees , 
chewing, mumbling, and growling, like a lean old 
wolf, angry at being disturbed in his meal. 

' Come hyar, Eube ! I want ye a bit,' continued 
Garey, in a tone of half entreaty. 

' And so 'ee will want me a bit ; this child don't 
move a peg till he has cleaned this hyur rib ; he don't, 
now !' 

'Dog-gone it, man! make haste then!' and the im- 
patient trapper drorjped the butt of his rifle to tis« 
ground, and stood waiting in sullen silence. 

After chewing, and mumbling, and growling a few 
minutes longer, old Eube, for that was the name by 



SHARP-SHOOTING. 15T 

which the leathery sinner was known, slowly erected 
his lean carcase, and came walking up to the crowd. 

' What do 'ee want, Biilee ? he inquired, going up 
to the trapper. 

' I want ye to hold this,' answered Garey, offering 
him a round white shell, about the size of a watch ; a 
epecies of which there were many strewed over the 
ground. 

'Is't a bet, boyee?' 

' No, it is not.' 

' Ain't wastin' yur powder, ar yur.' 

' I've been beat shootin',' replied the trapper, in an 
ander-tone, ' by that 'ar Injun.' 

The old man looked over to where the strange 
Indian was standing erect and majestic, in all the 
pride of his plumage. There was no appearance of 
triumph or swagger about him, as he stood leaning 
on his rifle, in an attitude at once calm and dig- 
nified. 

It was plain from the way old Eube surveyed him, 
that he had seen him before, though not in that camp, 
After passing his eyes over him from head to foot ; 
and there resting a moment, a low murmur escaped 
his lips, which ended abruptly in the word ' Coco.' 

' A Coco do ye think ?' inquired the other with an 
apparent interest. 

' Are 'ee blind, Biilee ? Don't 'ee see his mo- 
cassin ?' 

'Yes, you're right, but I was in thar nation two 
years ago. I seed no such man as that.' 

' He w'an't there.' 

'Wharthen?' 

' "Whnr thur's no great show o' redskins. He may 
■hoot well ; he did oncost on a time : plumb centre,' 

' You kuew him. did ye ?' 



158 THE SCALP-HUXTERS. 

' 0-«e-es. Oncest. Putty squaw : haioum gal 
"Whur do 'ee want me to go ?' 

I thought that Garey seemed inclined to carry the 
conversation farther. There was an evident interest 
in his manner, when the other mentioned the ' squaw. 
Perhaps he had some tender recollection ; but seeing 
the ether preparing to start off, he pointed to an open 
glade that stretched eastward, and simply answered, 
'Sixty.' 

' Take care o' my claws, d' yur hear ! Them Injuns 
has made 'em scarce ; this child can't spare another.' 

The old trapper said this with a flourish of his right 
hand. I noticed that the little finger had beeu 
chopped off! 

' Never fear, old hoss !' was the reply ; and at this, 
the smoky carcase moved away with a slow and 
regular pace, that showed he was measuring tlio- 
yards. 

"When he had stepped the sixtieth yard, he faced 
about, and stood erect, placing his heels together. 
He then extended his light arm, raising it until his 
hand was on a level with his shoulder, and holding 
the Bhell in his fingers, flat side to the front, shouted 
back — 

' Now, Billee, shoot, and be hanged to yur !' 
The shell was slightly concave, the concavity 
turned to the front. The thumb and finger reached 
half round the circumference, so that a part of the 
edge was hidden ; and the surface turned towards 
the marksman was not larger than the dial of a com- 
mon watch. 

This was a fearful sight. It is one not so common 
among the mountain men as travellers would have 
you believe. The feat proves the marksman's skill ; 
first, if successful, by showing the strength and 



SHAIU'-SHOOTING. 155) 

Bteadiness of his nerves ; secondly, by the confidence 
which the other reposes in it, thus declared by 
stronger testimony than any oath. In any case, the 
♦eat of holding the mark is at least equal to that of 
hitting it. There are many hunters willing to risk 
taking the shot, but few who care to hold the shell. 

It was a fearful sight, and my nerves tingled as I 
looked on. Many others felt as I. No one interfered. 
There were few present who would have dared, even 
had these two men been making preparation to fire at 
each other. Both were ' men of mark ' among their 
comrades : trappers of the first class. 

Garey, drawing a long breath, planted himself 
firmly, the heel of his left foot opposite to, and some 
inches in advance of, the hollow of his right. Then, 
jerking up his gun, and throwing the barrel across 
his left palm, he cried out to his comrade — 

' Steady, ole bone an' sinyer ! hyar's at ye !' 

The words were scarcely out when the gun was 
levelled. There was a moment's death-like silence, 
all eyes looking to the mark. Then came the crack, 
and the shell was seen to fly, shivered into fifty frag- 
ments ! There was a cheer from the crowd. Old 
Eube stopped to pick up one of the pieces, and after 
examining it for a moment, shouted in a loud voico-« 

' Plumb centre, by !' 

The young trapper had, in effect, hit the mark v. 
the very centre, as the blue stain of the bullet testi 
fied. 



( 160 ) 



CHAPTER XXIT. 

A FEAT A LA TELL. 

All eyes were turned upon the strange Indian. 
During the scene described, he has stood silent, and 
calmly looking on. His eye now wanders over the 
ground, apparently in search of an object. 

A small convolvulus, known as the 'prairie gourd,' 
fs lying at his feet. It is globe-shaped, about the size 
of an orange, and not unlike one in colour. He stoops 
and takes it up. He seems to examine it with great 
care, balancing it. upon his hand, as though he was 
calculating its weight. 

What does he intend to do with tin's? "Will he 
fling it up, and send his bullet through it in the air ? 
What else ? 

His motions are watched in silence. Nearly all the 
scalp-hunters, sixty or seventy, are on the ground. 
Seguin only, with the doctor and a few men, is en- 
gaged some distance off pitching a tent. Garey 
stands upon one side, slightly elated with hi6 triumph, 
but not without feelings of apprehension that he may 
yet be beaten. Old Kube has gone back to the fire, 
and is roasting another rib. 

The gourd seems to satisfy the Indian, for whatever 
purpose he intends it. A long piece of bone, the 
thigh joint of the war-eagle, hangs suspended over 
his breast. It is curiously carved, and pierced with 
holes like a musical instrument. It is one. 

He places this to his lips, covering the holes with 
his fingers. He sounds three notes, oddly inflected, 
but loud and sharp. He drops the instrument again. 



A FEAT A LA TELL. 161 

and stands looking eastward int<> the woods. The 
eyes of all present are bent in the same direction. 
The hunters, influenced by a mysterious curiosity, 
remain silent, or speak only in low mutterings. 

Like an echo, the three notes are answered by a 
similar signal ! It is evident that the Indian has a 
comrade in the woods, yet not one of the band seems 
to know ought of him or his comrade. Yes, one does. 
It is Eube. 

' Look'ee hyur, boyees !' cries he, squinting over his 
shoulders ; ' I'll stake this rib against a griskin o 
poor bull, that 'ee'll see the puttiest gal as 'ee ever set 
yur eyes on.' 

There is no reply : we are gazing too intently for 
the expected arrival. 

A rustling is heard, as of some one parting the 
bushes, the tread of a light foot, the snapping oJ 
twigs. A bright object appears among the leaves. 
Some one is coming through the underwood. It is a 
woman. 

It is an Indian girl attired in a singular and pic- 
turesque costume. 

She steps out of the bushes, and comes boldly 
towards the crowd. All eyes are turned upon her 
with looks of wonder and admiration. AVe scan her 
face and figure, and her striking attire. 

She is dressed not unlike the Indian himself, and 
there is resemblance in other respects. The tunic 
worn by the girl is of finer materials : of fawn-skin. 
It is richly trimmed, and worked with split quills, 
stained to a variety of bright colours. It hangs to 
the middle of the thighs, ending in a fringe-work of 
shells, that tinkle as she moves. 

Her limbs are wrapped in leggings of scarlet cloth, 
fringed like the tunic, and reaching to the ankles. 



1(32 THK SCAU'-HUNTERS. 

where they meet the flaps of her mocassins. These 
last are white, embroidered with stained quills, and 
fitting closely to her small feet 

A belt of wampum closes the tunic on her waist, 
exhibiting the globular developments of a full-growu 
bosom, and the undulating outlines of a womanly 
person. Her head-dress is similar to that worn by 
her companion, but smaller and lighter ; and her hair 
like his, hangs loosely down, reaching almost to the 
ground ! Uer neck, throat, and part of her bosom 
■ire nude, and clustered over with bead-strings ot 
various colours. 

The expression of her countenance is high and 
noble. Her eye is obliqfue. The lips meet with a 
double curve, and the throat is full and rounded. 
Her complexion is Indian ; but a crimson hue, strug- 
gling through the brown upon her cheek, gives that 
pictured expression to her countenance which may be 
observed in the quadroon of the AVest Indies. 

She is a girl, though full-grown and boldly de- 
veloped : a type of health and savage beauty. 

As she approaches, the men murmur their admi- 
ration. There are hearts beating under hunting- 
shirts that rarely deign to dream of the charms of 
woman. 

I am struck at this moment with the appearance of 
the young trapper, Garey. His face has fallen, the 
blood has forsaken his cheeks, his lips arc white and 
compressed, and dark rings have formed around his- 
eyes. They express anger, but there is still another 
meaning in them. 
Is it jealousy ? Yes ! 

He has stepped behind one cf his comrades, as if he 
did not wish to be seen, (hie hand is playing in- 
vcluntarilv with the handle of his knife. The othor 



A FEAT A LA TELL. 163 

grasps the barrel of bis gun, as though he would :rush 
it between his fingers ! 

The girl comes up. The Indian hands her the 
gourd, muttering some words in an unknown tongue, 
unknown at least to me. She takes it without making 
any reply, and walks oft' towards the spot where Eube 
had stood, which has been pointed out to her by her 
companion. 

She reaches the tree, and halts in front of it, facing 
round as tho trapper had done. 

There was something so dramatic, so theatrical, in 
the whole proceeding, that up to the present time we 
had all stood waitiDg for the denouement in silence. 
Now we knew what it was to be, and tho men began 
to talk. 

' He's a-goin' to shoot the gourd from the hand o* 
the gal,' suggested a hunter. 

'No great shot after all,' added another; and 
indeed this was the silent opinion of most on tho 
ground. 

' Wagh ! it don't beat Garey if he diz hit it,' ex- 
claimed a third. 

What was our amazement at seeing the girl fling off 
her plumed bonnet, place the gourd upon her head, 
fold her arms over her bosom, and stand fronting us 
as calm and immobile as if she had been carved upon 
ti-itree! 

There was a murmur in the crowd. The Indian 
was raising his rifle to take aim, when a man rushed 
forward to prevent him. It was Garey ! 

' No, yer don't ! No !' cried he, clutching the levelled 
rifle ; ' she's deceived me, that's plain, but I wou't see 
the gal that once loved me, or said she did, in the trap 
that a- way No ! Eill Garey ain't a-goin' to stand by 
and see it. 



1*54 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

What is this?' shouted the Indian in a voice of 
thunder. ' Who dares to interrupt me ?' 

' I dares,' replied Garey. ' She's yourn now, I sup- 
pose. You may take her whar ye like ; and take this 
too,' continued he, tearing off the embroidered pipe- 
case, and flinging it at the Indian's feet ; ' but ye're 
not a-goin' to shoot her down whiles I stand by.' 

' By what right do you interrupt me? My sister is 
not afraid, and ' 

'Your sister!' 

'Yes, my sister.' 

'And is yon gal your sister?' eagerly inquired 
Garey, his manner and the expression of his counte- 
nance all at once changing. 

' She is. I have said she is.' 

'And are you El Sol?' 

'I am.' 

' I ask your pardon ; but ' 

' I pardon you. Let me proceed!' 

' Oh, sir, do not. No ! no ! She is your sister, and 
I know you have the right, but thar's no needcessity. 
I have heerd of your shootin'. I give in, you kin beat 
me. For God's sake, do not risk it ; as you care for 
her, do not !' 

' There is no risk. I will show you.' 

' No, no ! If you must, then, let me ! 1 will hold 
it. Oh, let mc !' stammered the hunter in tcnes ol 
entreaty. 

' Ililloo, Billee ! What s the dratted rumpus ?' cried 
Rube, coming up. ' Hang it, man ! let's see the shot. 
I've heern o' it afore. Don't be skeert, ye fool ! he'll 
do it like a breeze ; he will !' 

And as the old trapper said this, he caught his 
comrade by the arm, and swung him round out of the 
Indian '8 vw. 



A FEAT A LA TELL. l6fl 

The girl, during all this, had stood still, seemingly 
not knowing the cause of the interruption. Garey's 
back was turned to her, and the distance, with two 
years of separation, doubtless prevented her from re- 
cognising him. 

Before Garey could turn to interpose himself, the 
rifle was at the Indian's shoulder and levelled. His 
finger was on the trigger, and his eye glanced through 
the sights. It was too late to interfere. Any attempt 
at that might bring about the dreaded result. The 
hunter, as he turned, saw this, and halting in his 
1 racks, stood straining and silent. 

Tt was a moment of terrible suspense to all of us ; a 
moment of intense emotion. The silence was pro- 
found. Every breath seemed suspended ; every eye 
was fixed on the yellow object, not larger, I have said, 
than an orange. Oh, God ! will the shot never come ? 

It came. The flash, the crack, the stream of fire,, 
the wild hurrah, the forward rush, were all simul- 
taneous things. We saw the shivered globe fly off. 
The girl was still upon her feet : she was safe ! 

I ran with the rest. The smoke for a moment 
blinded me. I heard the shrill notes of the Indian 
whistle. I looked before me. The girl had dis- 
appeared. 

We ran to the spot where she had stood. We heard 
a rustling in the underwood, a departing footstep. 
We knew it was she ; but guided by an instinct of deli- 
cacy, and a knowledge that it would be contrary to 
the wish of her brother no one followed her. 

We found the fragments of the calabash strewed 
over the ground. We found the leaden mark upon 
them. The bullet itself was buried in the bark of th& 
tree, and one of the hunters commenced digging it 
nut with the point of his bowie. 



166 niK SCALP-HUNTEKS. 

When we turned to go back, we saw that the Indian 
had walked away, and now stood chatting easily and 
familiarly with Seguin. 

As we re-entered the camp-ground, I observed 
Garey stoop and pick up a shining object. It was the 
gage d'amour, which he carefully readjusted around 
his neck, in its wonted position. 

From his look, and the manner in which he handled 
it, it was plain that he now regarded that souvenii 
with more reverence than ever. 



CHARTER XXIIL 

A FEAT A LA TAIL. 

1 had fallen into a sort of reverie. My mind was oc- 
cupied with the incidents I had just witnessed, when 
a voice, which I recognised as that of old Rube, roused 
me from my abstraction. 

' Look'ee hyur, boyees ! 'Tain't of n as ole Eubo 
wastes lead, but I'll beat that Injun's shot, or 'ee may 
cut my ears off.' 

A loud laugh hailed this allusion of the trapper to 
his ears, which, as we have observed, were already 
gone ; and so closely had they been trimmed that 
nothing remained for either knife or shears to accom- 
plish. 

'How will you do it, Rube?' cried one of tho 
nunte.rs ; • shoot the mark off a yer own head ?' 

'I'll let 'ee see if 'ee wait,' replied Rube, stalking up 
to a tree, and taking from its rest a long heavy 
rifle, which be proceeded to wipe out with care. 

The attention of all was now turned to the ma- 



A FEAT A ^A TAIL. 167 

nceuvres of the old trapper. Conjecture was lusy as to 
his designs. What feat could he perform that would 
eclipse the one just witnessed ? No one could guess. 

' I'll beat it,' continued he, muttering as he loaded 
bis piece, ' or ec may chop the little finger off olo 
Rube's right paw.' 

Another peal of laughter followed, as all perceived 
that this was the finger that was wanting. 

' 'Ee — es,' continued he looking at the faces that 
were around him, ' 'ee may scalp me if I don't.' 

This last remark elicited fresh roars of laughter : 
for although the catskin was closely drawn upon his 
head, all present knew that old Rube was minus bis 
scalp. 

' Hut how are ye goin' to do it ? Tell us that, old 
hoss !' 

' 'Ec see this, do 'ce ?' asked the trapper, holding 
out a small fruit of the cactus pitahaya, which he had 
just plucked and cleaned of its spikelets. 

' Ay, ay,' cried several voices, in reply. 

' 'Ee do, do 'ee ? Wal ; 'ee see 'tain't half as big as 
the Injun's squash. 'Ee see that, do 'ee?' 

' Oh, sartinly ! Any fool can see that.' 

'Wal; s'pose I plug it at sixty, plumb centre?' 

'Wagh!' cried several, with shrugs of disappoint- 
ment. 

' Stick it on a pole, and any o' us cau do that,' said 
the principal speaker. ' Here's Barney could knock it 
off wid his owld musket. Couldn't you, Barney ?' 

' In troth, an' I could thry,' answered a very small 
man, leaning upon a musket, and who was dressed in 
a tattered uniform that had once been sky-blue. I 
had already noticed this individual with some curiosity, 
partly struck with his peculiar costume, but more 
particularly od account of I he redness of his hair. 



168 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

winch was the reddest 1 had ever seen. It bore the 
marks of a severe barrack discipline : that is, it had 
been shaved, and was now growing out of his little 
round head short and thick, and coarse in the grain, 
and of the colour of a scraped carrot. There was no 
possibility of mistaking Barney's nationality. In 
trapper phrase, any fool could have told that. 

What had brought sucli an individual to such a 
place ? I asked this question, and was soon en- 
lightened. He had been a soldier in a frontier post : 
one of uncle Sam's ' sky-blues.' He had got tired of 
pork and pipe-clay, accompanied with a too liberal 
allowance of the ' hide.' In a word, Barney was a 
deserter. "What his name was I know not, but ho- 
went under the appellation of O'Cork : Barney O'Cork. 

A laugh greeted this answer to the hunter's 
question. 

'Any o' us,' continued the speaker, 'could plug the 
persimmon that a v. ay But thar's a mighty heap o T 
diff rence when you squints thro' hind sights at a gal 
like yon.' 

' Ye're right, Dick,' said another hunter ; ' it makes 
a feller feel queery about the joints.' 

' Holy vistment ! An' wasn't she a raal beauty ? T 
exclaimed the little Irishman, with an earnestness in 
his manner that set the trappers roaring again. 

Pish !' cried Itube, who had now finished loading, 

yur a set o' channering fools ; that's what 'ee ur. 

Who palavered about a post ? I've got an ole squaw 

as well's the Injun. She'll hold the thing for this 

child— she will.' 

' Squaw ! You a squaw ?' 

' Yes, boss ; I has a squaw I wudn't swop tor two o* 
his'n. I'll make tracts, an' fetch the old 'omau. Shet 
up yur heads, an wait, will ycP 



A FEAT A LA TAIL. 169 

So saying, the smoky old sinner shouldered his riha, 
and walked off into the woods. 

I, in common with others, late comers, who were 
strangers to Eube, began to think that he had an ' old 
oman.' There were no females to be seen about tho 
encampment, but perhaps she was hid away in the 
woods. The trappers, however, who knew him 
seemed to understand that the old fellow had some 
trick in his brain ; and that, it appeared, was no new 
thing for him. 

We were not kept lonj; in suspense. In a few 
minutes Eube was seen returning, and by his side the 
' old 'oman,' in the shape of a long, lank, bare-ribbed, 
high-boned mustang, that turned out on close in- 
spection to be a mare ! This, then, was Eube's squaw, 
and she was not at all unlike him, excepting the ears. 
She was long-eared, in common with all her race : the 
same as that upon which Quixote charged the wind- 
mill. The long ears caused her to look mulish, but it 
was only in appearance ; she was a pure mustang 
when you examined her attentively. She seemed to 
have been at an earlier period of that dun-yellowish 
colour known as ' clay-bank :' a common colour among 
Mexican horses ; but time and scars had somewhat 
metamorphosed her, and gray hairs predominated all 
over, particularly about the head and neck. These 
parts were covered with a dirty grizzle of mixed hues. 
She was badly wind-broken ; and at stated intervals, 
of several minutes each, her back, from the spas- 
modic action of the lungs, heaved up with a jerk, as 
though she was trying to kick witn her hind legs, and 
couldn't. She was as thin as a rail, and carried her 
head below the level of her shoulders ; but there was 
♦omething in the twinkle of her solitary eye (for she 
*iad but ono), that told you she had no intention of 

u 



170 THE SCAI.P-HUXTKRS. 

piving up for a long time to come. Slic was evidently 
• game to the backbone.' 

Such was the ' old 'oman' Rube had promised to 
fetch ; and she was greeted by a loud laugh as he led 
lior up. 

'Now, look'ee hyur, boyees,' said he halting in 
front of the crowd. ' 'Ee may larf, an' gabble, an 
grin till yur sick in the guts — yur may! but this 
child's a-gwine to take the shine out o' that Injun's 
shot — he is, or bust a-tryin'.' 

Several of the bystanders remarked that that was 
likely enough, and that they only waited to see it 
what manner it was to be done. No one who knew 
iiirn doubted old Rube to be, as in fact he was, one of 
The very best marksmen in the mountains : fully equal 
perhaps to the Indian ; but it was the style and cir- 
cumstances which had given such eclat to the shot oi 
the latter. It was not every day that a beautiful 
girl could be found to stand fire as the squaw had 
done ; and it was not every hunter who would have 
ventured to fire at a mark so placed. The strength of 
the feat lay in its newness and peculiarity. The 
hunters had often fired at the mark held in one 
another's hands. There were few who would like to 
carry it on their head. How then was Rube to ' take 
the shine out o' that Injun's shot?' This was tho- 
question that each was asking the other, and which 
was at length put directly to Rube himself. 

' Shet up your meat-traps,' answered he, ' an' I'll 
show ee. In the fust place, then, 'ee all see that this 
hyur prickly ain't moro'n hef size o' the squash ?' 

' Yes, sartinly, answered several voices. ' That 
wur one sukumstancc in his favour. Wa'nt it T 

' It wur ! it wur !' 

4 Wal, hyur's another. The Injun, ec see, shot his 



* KKAT A LA TAIL. 1 71 

mark off o' the head. Now, this child's a-gwine to 
knock his'n off o' the tail. Kud yur Injivn do that ? 
Eh. boyeesP 

* No, no !' 

' Do that beat him, or do it not, then ?' 

'It beats him!' 'It does!' 'Far better!' 'Hooray! 1 
vociferated several voices, amidst yells of laughter. 
No one dissented, as the hunters, pleased with the 
joke, were anxious to see it carried through. 

Bube did not detain them long. Leaving his rifle in 
the hands of his friend Garey, he led the old mare up 
towards the spot that had been occupied by the Indian 
girl. Beaching this, he halted. 

We all expected to see him turn the animal with 
her side towards us, thus leaving her body out of 
range. It soon became evident that this was not the 
old fellow's intention. It would have spoiled the look 
of the thing, had he done so ; and that idea was no 
Joubt running in his mind. 

Choosing a place where the ground chanced to be 
chgljtly hollowed out, he led the mustang forward, 
until her fore feet rested in the hollow. The tail was 
thus thrown above the body. 

Having squared her hips to the camp, he whispered 
something at her head ; and going round to the hind 
quarters, adjusted the pear upon the highest curve of 
the stump. He then came walking back. 

"Would the mare stand ? No fear of that. She had 
Dccn trained to stand iu one place for a longer period 
diaii was now required ot her. 

The appearance which the old mare exhibited, 
nothing visible but her hind legs and buttocks, for the 
mules had stripped her tail ot the hair, had by this 
timo wound the spectators up to the risible point, and 
most of tlwu* weie yelling 

m 2 



lit THE SUAU'-HUNTEKS. 

' Stop yur giggle-goggle, will yur !' said Eube, 
clutching his rifle, and taking his stand. The 
laughter was held in, no one wishing to disturb the 
shot. 

'Now, old Tar-guts, don't waste your fodder !' mut- 
tered the trapper, addressing his gun, which the next 
moment was raised and levelled. 

No one doubted but that Eube would hit the object 
at which he was aiming. It was a shot frequently 
made by western riflemen : that is, a mark of the 
same size, at sixty yards. And, no doubt, Eube would 
have done it ; but, just at the moment of his pulling 
trigger, the mare's back heaved up in one of its 
neriodic jerks, and the pitahaya fell to the ground. 

But the ball had sped ; and, grazing the animal's 
shoulder, passed through one of her ears ! 

The direction of the bullet was not known until 
afterwards, but its effect was visible at once ; for the 
mare, stung in her tenderest part, uttered a sort of 
human-like scream ; and wheeling about, came leaping 
into camp, kicking over everything that happened to 
lie in her way. 

The yelk and loud laughing of the trappers, the odd 
■•jaculations of the Indians, the 'vayas' and 'vivas' of 
the Mexicans, the wild oaths of old Eube himself, all 
formed a medley of sounds that fell strangely upon 
the ear, and to give an idea of which is boyond ttia 
art of my pen. 



( 173 * 



CHAPTER XX1Y. 

THE PBOGKAMME. 

Shortly after, I was wandering out to the caballada 
to look after my horse, when the sound of a bugle fell 
upon my ear. It was the signal for the men to 
assemble, and I turned back towards the camp. 

As I re-entered it, Seguin was standing near hi* 
tent, with the bugle still in his hand. The hunters 
were gathering around him. 

They were soon all assembled, and stood in groups, 
waiting for the chief to speak. 

'Comrades!' said Seguin, ' to-morrow we break up 
this camp for an expedition against the enemy. I 
have brought you together that you may know my 
plans and lend me your advice.' 

A murmur of applause followed this announcement. 
The breaking up of a camp is always joyous news to 
men whose trade is war. It seemed to have a like 
effect upon this motley group of guerilleros. 

The chief continued — 

' It is not likely that you will have much fighting, 
Our dangers will be those of the desert ; but we will 
endeavour to provide against them in tho best 
manner possible. 

' I have learned, from a reliable source, that our 
enemies are, at this very time, about starting upon a 
grand expedition to plunder the towns of Sonora and 
Chihuahua. 

'It is their intention, if not met by the government 
troops, to extend their foray to Durango itself. Both 
tribes have combined in this movement ; and it is be- 



174 THE SCALP-IIUNTKKS. 

ieved that all the warriors will proceed southward, 
leaving their country unprotected behind them. 

' It is my intention then, as soon as I can ascertain 
that they have gone out, to enter their territory, and 
pierce to the main town of the Navajoes.' 

'Bravo!' 'Hooray!' 'Bueno!' 'Tres bien!' 'Good 
as wheat !' and numerous other exclamations, hailed 
this declaration. 

' Some of you know my object in making this expe- 
dition. Others do not. I will declare it to you all. 
It is, then, to 

' Git a grist of scalps ; what else V cried a rough, 
brutal-looking fellow, interrupting the chief. 

' No, Kirker !' replied Seguin, bending his eye upon 
the man, with an expression of anger. 'It is not 
that. We expect to meet only women. On his peril 
let no man touch a hair upon the head of an Indian 
woman. I shall pay for no scalps of women or 
children.' 

'Where then will be your profits? We cannot 
bring them prisoners? We'll have enough to do td 
get back ourselves, I reckon, across them deserts.' 

These questions seemed to express the feelings of 
others of the band, who muttered their assent. 

' You shall lose nothing. Whatever prisoners you 
take shall be counted on the ground, and every man 
shall be paid according to his number. When we re- 
turn I will make that good.' 

' Oh ! that's fair enough, captain,' cried several 
voices. 

' Let it be understood then, no women nor children. 
The plunder you shall have, it is yours by our laws, 
but no blood that can be spared. There is enough on 
our hands already. Do you all bind yourselves to 
this?' 



THE PROGltAMMI!;. 175 

yes!' 'Si!' 'Oui, oui!' 'Ya, ya!' 'All!' 
Todos, todos !' cried a multitude of voices, each man 
answering in his own language. 

' Let those who do not agree to it speak.' 

A profound silence followed this proposal. All had 
bound themselves to the wishes of their leader. 

' I am glad that you are unanimous. I will now 
state my purpose fully. It is but just you should 
know it.' 

' Ay, let us know that, muttered Kirker, ' if 'tain't 
to raise har we're goin'.' 

' We go then to seek for our friends and relatives, 
who for years have been captives to our savage enemy. 
There are many among us who have lost kindred, 
wives, sisters, and daughters.' 

A murmur of assent, uttered chiefly by men in 
Mexican costume, testified to the truth of tins state- 
ment. 

' I myself,' continued Seguin, and his voice slightly 
trembled as he spoke, ' am among that number. 
Years, long years ago, I was robbed of my child by 
the Navajoes. I have lately learned that she is still 
alive, and at their head town, with many other white 
captives. We go, then, to release and restore them 
.10 their friends and homes.' 

A shout of approbation broke from the crowd, 
mingled with exclamations of ' Bravo !' ' We'll fetch 
them back !' ' Vive le capitaine !' ' Viva el gefe !' 

When silence was restored, Seguin continued — 

'You know our purpose. You have approved it. 
i will now make known to you the plan I had de- 
signed for accomplishing it, and listen to your 
advice.' 

Here the chief paused a moment, while the men re- 
mained silent and waiting. 



176 THE SCALr-HOXTEES. 

' There are three passes, continued he at length, 
' by which we might enter the Indian country from 
this side. There is, first, the route of the "Western 
Puerco. That would lead us direct to the Navajo 
towns.' 

' And why not take that way ?' asked one of the 
hunters, a Mexican. ' I know the route well, as far as 
the Pecos towns.' 

' Because we could not pass the I'ecos towns* with- 
out being seen by Navajo spies. There are always 
some of them there. Nay, more,' continued Seguin, 
with a look that expressed a hidden meaning, 'we 
would not get far up the Del Norte itself before the 
Navajoes would be warned c f our approach. Y\ T e have 
sneniies nearer home.' 

' Carrai ! that is true/ said a hunter, speaking in 
Spanish. 

' Should they get word of our coming, even though 
the warriors had gone southward, you can see that we 
would have a journey for nothing.' 

' True, true !' shouted several voices. 
For the same reason, we cannot take the pass of 
Polvidera. Besides, at this season, there is but little 
prospect of game on either of these routes. We are 
not prepared for an expedition with our present 
supply. We must pass through a game country be- 
fore we can enter on the desert.' 

' That is true, captain ; but there is as little game 
to be met if we go by the old mine. What other 
road, then, can we take '?' 

' There is still another route better than all, I think. 
We will strike southward, and then west across the. 
Llanos to the old mission. Prom thence we can go 
north into the Apache country.' 

'Yes, yes ; that is the best way. captain.' 



Hit PilOGKAMME. 17? 

' Wo ft ill have a longer journey, but with advan- 
tages. We will find the wild cattle or the buffaloes 
upon the Llanos. Moreover, we will make sure of 
our time, as we can cache in the Pifion Hills that over- 
took the Apache war-trail, and see our enemies pass 
out. When they have gone south, we can cross the 
Gila, and keep up the Azul or Prieto. Having ac- 
complished the object of our expedition, we may then 
return homeward by the nearest route.' 

'Bravo!' 'Yiva!' 'That's jest right, captain!' 
' That's clarly our best plan !' were a lew among the 
many forms by which the hunters testified their 
approval of the programme. There was no dissenting 
voice. The word ' Prieto,' struck like music upon 
their ears. That was a magic word : the name of the 
far-famed river on whose waters the trapper legends 
had long placed the El Dorado, 'the mountain of 
gold.' Many a story of this celebrated region had 
been told at the hunters' camp-fire, all agreeing in. 
one point : that there the gold lay in ' lumps ' upon 
the surface of the ground, and filled the rivers with 
its shining grains. Often had the trappers talked 
of an expedition to this unknown land ; and small 
parties were said to have actually entered it, but 
none of these adventurers had ever been known to 
return . 

The hunters saw now, for the first time, the prospect 
of penetrating this region with safety, and their minds 
were filled with fancies wild and romantic. Not a few 
of them had joined Seguin's band in hopes that some 
day this very expedition might be undertaken, and 
the 'gold mountain' reached. What, then, were 
their feelings, when Seguin declared his purpose of 
travelling by the Prieto ! At the mention of it a 
buzz of peculiar meaning ran through the crowd, and 



178 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

tflc men turned to each other with looks of satisfa* 
tion. 

' To-morrow, then, we shall march,' added the chief. 
Go now and make your preparations ; we start by 
dayoreak.' 

As Seguin ceased speaking, the hunters departed, 
each to look after his ' traps and possibles ;' a duty 
60on performed, as these rude rangers were but little 
encumbered with camp equipage. 

I sat down upon a log, watching for some time the 
movements of my wild companions, and listening to 
their rude and Babel-like converse. 

At length arrived sunset, or night, for they are 
almost synonymous in these latitudes. Fresh logs 
"were flung upon the fires, till they blazed up. The 
men sat around them, cooking, eating, smoking, talk- 
ing loudly, and laughing at stories that illustrated 
their own wild habits. The red light fell upon fierce 
dark faces, now fiercer and more swarthy under the 
glare of the burning cotton-wood. 

By its light the savage expression was strengthened 
on every countenance. Beards looked darker, and 
teeth gleamed whiter through them. Eyes appeared 
more sunken, and their glances more brilliant and 
fiend-like. Picturesque costumes met the eye : tur- 
bans, Spanish hats, plumes, and mottled garments ; 
escopettes and rifles leaning against the trees ; saddles, 
high-peaked, resting upon logs and stumps ; bridles 
hanging from the branches overhead ; strings of jerked 
meat drooping in festoons in front of the tents, and 
haunches of venison still smoking and dripping their 
half-coagulated drops ! 

The vermilion smeared on the foreheads of the 
Indian wamors gleamed in the night light as though 
It were blood. It was a picture at once savage and 



EL SOL AND LA LUXA. 179 

warlike : warlike, but with an aspect of ferocity at 
which the sensitive heart drew hack. It was a 
picture such as may be seen only in a bivouac of 
guerilleros, of brigands, of man-hunters. 



CHAPTER XXV- 

EL SOL AND LA LUNA. 

' Come,' said Seguin, touching me on the arm, ' our 
supper is ready ; 1 see the doctor beckoning us.' 

I was not slow to answer the call, for the cool air 
of the evening had sharpened my appetite. 

We approached the tent, in front of which was a 
fire. Over this, the doctor, assisted by Gode and a 
pueblo peon, was just giving the finishing touch to a 
savoury supper. Part of it had already been carried 
inside the tent. We followed it, and took our seats 
upon saddles, blankets and packs. 

' Why, doctor,' said Seguin, ' you have proved your- 
self a perfect maitre de cuisine to-night. This is a 
supper for a Lucullus.' 

' Ach ! mein captain, ich have goet help j mein herr 
Gode assist me most wonderful.' 

' Well, Mr. Haller and I will do full justice to your 
dishes. Let us to them at once !' 

' Oui, oui ! bien, Monsieur Capitaine,' said Gode, 
hurrying in with a multitude of viands. The Canadicn 
was always in his element when there was plenty to 
cook and cat. 

We were soon engaged on fresh steaks (of wild 
cows), roasted ribs of venison, dried buffalo tongues, 
tortillas, and coffee. The coffee and tortillas were the 



180 THE SCALF-HUNTER3. 

labours of the pueblo, in the preparation of which 

viands he was Gode's master. 

But Gode had a choice dish, un petit rnorceau, in 
reserve, which he brought forth with a triumphant 
flourish. 

Voici, messieurs !' cried he, setting it before as. 

'What is it, Gode?' 

' One fricassee, monsieur. 

'Of what?' 

' lies frog ; what de Yankee call boo-frog !' 

' A fricassee of bull-frogs !' 
Oui, oui, mon maitre. Voulez vous?' 

' Xo, thank you !' 

' I will trouble you, Monsieur Goch:,' said Seguin. 

' Ich, ich, mein Gode ; frocks ver goot ;' and the 
doctor held out his platter to bo helped. 

Gode, in wandering by the river, had encountered 
a pond of giant frogs, and the fricassee was the result. 
I had not then overcome my national antipathy to 
the victims of St. Patrick's curse ; and, to the 
voyageur's astonishment, I refused to share the dainty. 

During our supper conversation I gathered some 
facts of the doctor's history, which, with what I had 
already learned, rendered the old man an object of 
extreme interest to me. 

Up to this time, I had wondered what such a 
character could be doing in such company as that of 
the Scalp-hunters. I now learnt a few details that 
explained all. 

His name was Eeichter ; Friedrich Eeichter. He 
was a Strasburgher, and in the city of bells had been a 
medical practitioner of so.ue repute. The love of 
science, but particularly of his favourite branch, 
botany, had lured him away from his Ehenish home. 
He had wandered to the United States, ti.en to the 



SX SOL AND LA LUNA. 18i 

Far "West, to classify the flora of that remote region. 
lie had spent several years in the great valley of tho 
Mississippi ; and, falling in with one of the St. Louis 
caravans, had crossed the prairies to the oasis of New 
Mexico. In his scientific wanderings along the Del 
Norte, he had met with the Scalp-hunters, ana, 
attracted by the opportunity thus afforded him of 
penetrating into regions hitherto unexplored by the 
devotees of science, he had offered to accompany the 
band. This offer was gladly accepted, on account 
of his services as their medico ; and for two years he- 
had been with them, sharing their hardships and 
^angers. 

Many a scene of peril had he passed through, many 
a privation had he undergone, prompted by a love oi 
nis favourite study, and perhaps, too, by the dreams oi 
future triumph, when he would one day sptead his 
strange flora before the savans of Europe. Poor 
Keichter ! Poor Friedrich Eeichter ! yours was the 
dream of a dream : it never became a reality ! 

Our supper was at length finished, and washed 
down with a bottle of Taso wine. There was plenty 
of this, as well as Taos whiskey, in the encampment ; 
and the roars of laughter that reached us from without 
proved that the hunters were imbibing freely of the 
latter. 

The doctor drew out his great meerschaum, Gode 
filled a red claystone, while Seguin and I lit our husk 
cigarettes. 

' But tell me,' said I, addressing Seguin, ' who is the 
Indian? — he who performed the wild feat of shooting 
the ' 

' An ! El Sol ; he is a Cocc. 

« A Coco ?' 

' Yes ; of the Marioapa tribe. '' 



132 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

' But that makes me no wiser than before. I knew 
that much already.' 

' You knew it ? "Who told you?' 

' 1 heard old Bube mention the fact to nis comrade 
Garey.' 

' Ay, true ; he should know him. Seguin remained 
silent. 

'Well?' continued I, wishing to learn more. 
'Who are the Maricopas. 5 I have never heard v<«' 
them.' 

' It is a tribe but little known ; a nation ot singulai 
men. They are foes of the Apache and Navajo 
their country lies down the Gila. They carne origin- 
ally from the Pacific ; from the shores of tb^ Cah 
fornian sea.' 

' But this man is educated, or seems so. He speaks 
English and French as well as you or I. He appears 
to be talented, intelligent, polite ; in short, a gentle- 
man.' 

' He is all you have said.' 

' I cannot understand this.' 

' I will explain to you, my friend. That man was 
educated at one of the most celebrated universities in 
Europe. He has travelled farther, and through more 
countries, perhaps, than either of us.' 

' But how did he accomplish all this ? An Indian !' 

' By the aid of that -which has often enabled very 
little men (though El Sol is not one of those) to achieve 
very great deeds, or at least to get the credit of 
having done so. By gold.' 

' Gold ! and where got he the gold ? I have been 
told that there is very little of it in the hands of 
Indians. The white men have robbed them of all 
they once had. 

' That is in general a truth ; and true of the Marico- 



EL SOL AND LA LUNA. 1«9 

pas. There was a time when they possessed gold in 
large quantities, and pearls too, gathered from the 
depths of the Vermilion Sea. It is gone. The Jesnit 
padres could tell whither.' 

' But this man 1 El Sol ?' 

' He is a chief. He has not lost all his gold. He 
still holds enough to serve him, and it is not likely that 
the padres will coax it from him for either beads or 
Vermilion. No ; he has seen the world, and has learnt 
the all-pervading value of that shining metal.' 

' But his sister ? is she too educated ?' 

' No. Poor Luna is still a savage ; but he instructs 
her in many things. He has been absent for several 
years. He has returned but lately to his tribe.' 

' Their names are strange : " The Sun," " The 
Moon!"' 

' They were given by the Spaniards of Sonora : but 
they are only translations or synonymes of their 
Indian appellations. That is common upon tho 
frontier.' 

' Why are they here ?' 

I put this question with hesitation, as I knew there 
might be some peculiar history connected with the 
answer. 

' Partly,' replied Seguin, ' from gratitude I believe 
to myself. I rescued El Sol, when a boy, out of the 
hands of the Navajoes. Perhaps there is still another 
reason. But come !' continued he, apparently wishing 
to give a turn to the conversation ; ' you shall know 
our Indian friends. You are to be companions for a 
time. He is a scholar, and will interest you. Take 
care of your heart with the gentle Luna. Yincente ! 
Go to the tent of the Coco chief. Ask him to come 
and drink a cup of Paso wine. Tell him to bring his 
sister with him.' 



184 THE SCALP-HUN TER3. 

The servant hurried away through the camp, WhLs 
he was gone we conversed about the feat which the 
Ooco had performed with his rifle. 

' I never knew him to fire,' remarked Segum, ' with- 
out hitting his mark. There is something mysterious 
about that. His aim is unerring ; and it seems to be, 
on his part, an act of pure volition. There may be 
some guiding principle in the mind, independent oi 
either strength of nerve or sharpness of sight. He 
and another are the only persons I ever knew to 
possess this singular power.' 

The last part of this speech was uttered in a hali 
soliloquy ; and Scguin, after delivering it, remained 
for some moments silent and abstracted. 

Before the conversation was resumed, El Sol and hi? 
sister entered the tent, and Seguin introduced us to 
each other. In a few moments we were engaged, El 
Sol, the doctor, Seguin, and myself, in an animated 
conversation. The subject was not horses, nor guns, 
nor scalps, nor war, nor blood, nor aught connected 
with the horrid calling of that camp. We were dis- 
cussing a point in the pacific science of botany ; 
the relationship of the diffeicnt forms of the cactus 
family. 

I had studied the science, and I felt that my know- 
ledge of it was inferior to that of any of my three 
companions. I was struck with it then, and more 
when I reflected on it afterwards ; the fact of such a 
conversation, the time, the place, and the men who 
carried it on. 

For nearly two hours wc sat smoking and talking 
on like subjects. 

While we were thus engaged, I observed upon tne 
canvas the shadow of a man. Looking forth, as my 
position enabled me without rising, I recognised in 



THE WAR-riUlL. 185 

the light that streamed out of the tent, a hunting- 
shirt with a worked pipe-holder hanging over the 
breast. 

La Luna sat uear her brother sewing parfleche soles 
upon a pair of mocassins. I noticed that she had an 
abstracted air, and at short intervals glanced out from 
the opening of the tent. While we were engrossed 
with our discussion she rose silently, though not with 
any appearance of stealth, and went out. 

After a while she returned. I could read the love- 
light in her eye as she resumed her occupation. 

El Sol and his sister at length left us ; and shortly 
after, Seguin, the doctor, and I, rolled ourselves in our 
serapes, and lay down to sleep. 



OHAPTEE XXVI. 

THE WAR TRAIL. 

The band was mo\mted by earliest dawn : and as the 
notes of the bugle died away, our horses plashed 
r ,hrough the river, crossing to the other side. We 
soon debouched from the timbered bottom, coming 
out upon sandy plains that stretched westward to the 
Mimbres mountains. We rode over these plains in a 
southerly direction, climbing long ridges of sand that 
traversed them from east to west. The drift lay in 
deep furrows, and our horses sank above the fetlocks 
as we journeyed. We were crossing the western 
section of the ' Jornada.' 

We travelled in Indian file. Habit has formed tins 
fliBpceition among Indians and hunters on the march. 

x 



180 THE SCALI'-ilUXlKRS. 

The tangled paths of the forest, and the narrow defilea 
of the mountains, admit of no other. Even when 
passing a plain, our cavalcade was strung out tor a 
quarter of a mile. The atajo followed in charge of the 
' arrieros." 

For the first day of our march we kept on without 
'nooning.' There was neither grass nor water on the 
route ; and a halt under tho hot sun would not have 
refreshed us. 

Early in the afternoon a dark line became visible, 
stretching across the plain. As we drew nearer, a 
green wall rose before us, and we distinguished the 
proves of cotton-wood. The hunters knew it to be 
the timber on the Paloma. We were soon passing 
under the shade of its quivering canopy, and reach- 
ing the banks of a clear stream, we halted for tho 
night. 

Our camp was formed without either tents or lodges. 
Those used on the Del Norte had been left behind in 
cache. An expedition like ours could not bo cumbered 
with camp baggage. Each man's blanket was his 
house, his bed, and his cloak. 

Fires were kindled, and ribs roasted ; and fatigued 
with our journey (the first day's ride has always this 
effect), we were soon wrapped in our blankets, and 
sleeping soundly. 

We were summoned next morning by the call of the 
bugle sounding 'reveille.' The band partook some- 
what of a military organization, and every one under- 
stood the signals of light cavalry. 

Our breakfast was soon cooked and eaten ; our 
horses were drawn from their pickets, saddled, and 
mounted ; and at another signal we moved forward on 
the route. 

The incidents of our first journey were repeated. 



THE WAR-TRAIL. 187 

with but little variety, for several days in succession. 
We travelled through a desert country, here and 
there covered with wild sage and mezquite. 

We passed on our route clumps of cacti, and thickets 
of creosote bushes, that emitted their foul odours as 
we crushed through them. On the fourth evening we 
camped at a spring, the 'Ojo de Vaca,' lying on the 
eastern borders of the Llanos. 

Over the western section of this great prairie passes 
tlie Apache war-trail, running southward into Sonora. 
Near the trail, and overlooking it, a high mountain 
rises out of the plain. It is the Pinon. 

It was our design to reach this mountain, and cacher 
among the rocks, near a well-known spring, until our 
enemies should pass ; but to effect this we would have 
to cross the war-trail, and our own tracks would 
betray us. Here was a difficulty which had not oc- 
curred to Seguin. There was no other point except 
the Pinon from which we could certainly see the 
enemy on their route, and be ourselves hidden. This 
mountain then must be reached ; and how were we to 
effect it without crossing the trail ? 

After our arrival at Ojo de Vaca, Seguin drew the 
men together to deliberate on this matter. 

' Let us spread,' said a hunter, • and keep wide over 
the paraira, till we've got clar past the ApasU trail. 
They won't notice a single track hyar and thar, I 
reckin.' 

'Ay, but they will though,' rejoined another. 'Do 
ye think an Injun's a-goin' to pass a shod horse-track 
'ithout follerin' it up? No siree !' 

' We kin muffle the hoofs, as far as that goes,' sug- 
gested the first speaker. 

' Wagh ! That ud only make it worse. I tried that 
dedge once afore, an' nearly lost my har for it . He's 

> 2 



188 TUE SCAI.P-IIUNTERS. 

a blind Injun kin bo fooled that a-way. 'Twon't do 
no how.' 

' They're not goin' to be so partickler when they're 
on the war-trail, I warrant ye. I don't see why it 
shouldn't do well enough.' 

Most of the hunters agreed with the former speaker. 
The Indians would not fail to notice so many muffled 
tracks, and suspect there was ' something in the wind.' 
The idea of ' muffling ' was therefore abandoned. What 
next? 

The trapper Rube, who, up to this time, had said 
nothing, now drew the attention of all by abruptly 
exclaiming ' Pish !' 

' Well ! What have you to say, old hoss ?' inquired 
one of the hunters. 

' Thet yur a set o'cussed fools, one and all o' ee. I 
kud take the full o' that paraira o' hosses acrosst the 
Pash trail, 'ithout making a sign that any Injun's 
a-gwine to foller, particularly an Injun on the war-beat 
as them is now.' 

' How ?' asked Seguin. 

' I'll tell yur how, cap, ev yur'll tell me what 'ee 
wants to cross the trail for ?' 

' Why, to conceal ourselves in the Pinon range ; 
what else ?' 

'An' how are 'ee gwine to cacher in the Peenyun 
'ithout water?' 

' There is a spring on the side of it, at the foot of 
the mountain.' 

' That's true as Scripter. I knows that ; but at that 
fery spring the Injuns '11 cool their lappers as they go 
down south'ard. How are 'ee gwine to get at it with 
this cavayard 'ithout makin' sign? This child don't 
see that very clur.' 

'You are right, Eube. We cannot touch the Pinon 



THE WAR-TRAIL. 189 

spring without leaving our marks loo plainly : and it 
is the very place where the war party may make a 
halt.' 

' I sees no confoundered use in the hul on us crossin' 
the paraira now. We kan't hunt burner till they've 
passed, anyways. So it's this child's idee that a dozen 
o' us '11 be enough to cacher in the Peenyun, and watch 
for the niggurs a-goin' south. A dozen mout do it 
safe enough, but not the hul cavayard.' 

' And would you have the rest to remain here ?' 

'Not hyur. Let 'em go north'ard from hyur, and 
then strike west through the Musquite hills. Thur's 
a crick runs thur, about twenty mile or so this side 
the trail. They kin git water and grass, and cacher 
thus till we sends for 'em.' 

'But why not remain by this spring, where we have 
both in plenty ?' 

' Cap'n, jest because some o' the Injun party may 
take a notion in thur heads to kum this way them- 
selves. I reckin we had better make blind tracks 
before leavhr hyur.' 

The force of Tfube'<s reasoning was apparent to all, 
and to none more than Seguin himself. It was re- 
solved to follow his advice at once. The vidette 
party was told off ; and the rest of the band, with the 
atajo, after blinding the tracks around the spring, 
struck off in a north-westerly direction. 

They were to travel on to the Mezquite hills, that 
lay some ten or twelve miles to the north-west of the 
spring. There they were to cacher by a stream well 
known to several of them, and wait until warned to 
join us. 

The vidette party, cf whom I was cne, moved west- 
ward across the prairie. 

Kube, Garey, El Sol and his sister, with Sanchez, 



19C THE SCALr-HCXTEES. 

li-tkvant bull-fighter, and half-a-dozen others, com« 
posed the party. Seguin himself was cur head and 
guide. 

Before leaving the Ojo de Vaca, we had stripped tho 
shoes off the horses, filling the nail-holes with clay, so 
that their tracks would be taken for those of wild 
mustangs Such were the precautions of men who 
knew that their lives might be the forfeit of a single 
foot-print. 

As we approached the point where the war-trail in- 
tersected the prairie, we separated and deployed to 
distances of half-a-milo each. In this manner we 
rode forward to the Pifion mountain, where we came 
together again, and turned northward along the foot 
of the range. 

It was sundown when we reached the spring, 
having ridden all day across the plain. We descried 
it, as we approached, close in to the mountain-foot, 
and marked by a grove of cotton-woods and willows 
We did not take our horses near the water ; but, 
having reached a defile in the mountain, we rode into 
it, and cached them in a thicket of nut-pine. In this 
thicket we spent the night. 

With the first light of morning we made a recon- 
naissance of our cache. 

In front of us was a low ridge covered with loose 
rocks and straggling trees of the nut-pine. This 
ridge separated the defilo from the plain ; and from 
its top, screened by a thicket of the pines, we com- 
manded a view of the water as well as the trail, and 1 
„he Llanos stretching away to the north, south, and! 
east. It was just the sort of hiding-place we required 
for our object. 

In the morning it became necessary to descend for 
water. For this purpose we had provided ourselves 



THE WAR-TRAIL. 191 

with a mule bucket, and extra xuagos We visited 
the spring, and filled our vessels, taking care to leave 
no traces of our footsteps in the mud. 

We kept constant watch during the first day, but 
no Indians appeared. Deer and antelopes, with a 
small gang of buffaloes, came to the spring- branch to 
drink, and then roamed off again over the green 
meadows. It was a tempting sight, for we could 
easily have crept within shot, but we dared not touch 
them. We knew that the Indian dogs would sceni 
their slaughter. 

In the evening we went again for water, making 
the journey twice, as our animals began to suffer 
from thirst. We adopted the same precautions as 
before. 

Next day we Again watched the horizon to the 
north with eager eyes. Seguin had a small pocket 
glass, and we could see the prairie with it for a dis- 
tance of nearly thirty miles ; but as yet no enemy 
could be descried. 

The third day passed with a like result; and we 
began to fear that the warriors had taken some other 
trail. 

Another circumstance rendered us uneasy. We had 
eaten nearly the whole of our provisions, and were 
now chewing the raw nuts of the Piiion. We dared 
not kindle a fire to roast them. Indians can ' read ' 
the smoke at a great distance. 

The fourth day arrived, and still no ' sign ' on the 
Ik lizon to the north. Our tasajo was all eaten, and 
we began to hunger. The nuts did not satisfy us. 
'J ha game was in plenty at the spring, and mottling- 
;he grassy plain One proposed to lie among the 
.villows, and shoot p.n antelope or a black-tailed deer,, 
of which there were troops in the neighbourhood. 



t92 THE SUALl'-HUXTKKS 

' We dare not,' said Seguin ; ' their dogs wculd find 
the blood. It might betray us.' 

' I can procure one without letting a drop,' rejoined 
a Mexican hunter. 

' How ?' inquired several in a breath. 

The man pointed to his lasso. 

' But your tracks ; you would make deep footmarks 
in the struggle ?' 

' We can blind them, captain,' rejoined the man. 

' You may try, then,' assented the chief. 

The Mexican unfastened the lasso from his saddle 
and, taking a companion, proceeded to the spring, 
They crept in among the willows, and lay in wait. 
We watched them from the ridge. 

They had not remained more than a quarter of an 
hour when a herd of antelopes was seen approaching 
from the plain. These walked directly ior the spring, 
one following the other in Indian file. They were 
'soon close in to the willows where the hunters had 
concealed themselves. Here they suddenly halted, 
throwing up their heads and snuffing the air. They 
had scented danger, but it was too lato for the fore- 
most to turn and lope off. 

' Yonder goes the lasso !' cried one. 

Wc saw the noose flying in the air and settling over 
his head. The herd suddenly wheeled, but the loop 
was around the neck of their leader ; and after thre« 
or four skips, he sprang up and falling upon his back 
lay motionless. 

The hunter came out from the willows, and taking 
up the animal, now choked dead, carried him towards 
the entrance of the defile. His companion followed, 
blinding the tracks of both. In a few minutes they 
aad reached us. The antelope was skinned, and eaten 
raw, in the blood ! 



THE WAR-TRAIL. 193 



Our horses grow thin with hunger and thirst. We 
fear to go too often to the water, though we become 
less cautious as the hours pass. Two more antelopes 
nre lassoed by the expert hunter. 

The night of the fourth day is clear moonlight. 
The Indians often march by moonlight, particularly 
when on the war-trail. We keep our vidette sta- 
tioned during the night as in the day. On this night 
we look out with more hopes than usual. It is such a 
lovely night ! a full moon, clear and calm. 

We are not disappointed. Near midnight the 
vidette awakes us. There are dark forms on the sky 
away to the north. It may be buffaloes, but we see 
that they are approaching. 

We stand, one and all, straining our eyes through 
the white air, and away over the silvery sward. 
There are glancing objects : arms it must be. ' Horses ! 
horsemen ! They are Indians !' 

' Oh, God ! comrades ; we are mad ! Our horses : 
they may neigh !' 

We bound after our leader down the hill, over the 
rocks, and through the trees. We run for the thicket 
where our animals are tied. We may be too late, for 
horses can hear each other miles off ; and the slightest 
concussion vibrates afar through the elastic atmo- 
sphere of these high plateaux. We reach the cabal- 
lada. What is Seguin doing? He has torn the 
blanket from under his saddle, and is muffling the 
head of his horse ! 

We follow his example, without exchanging a word, 
for we knovv this is the only plan to pursue. 

In a few minutes we feel secure again, and return 
to our watch station on the height. 



194 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

We had shaved our time closely ; for, on reaching 
the hill-top, we could hear the exclamations of Indians, 
the ' thump, thump ' of hoofs on the hard plain, and 
an occasional neigh, as their horses scented the water. 
The foremost were advancing to the spring ; and we 
could see the long line of mounted men stretching in 
their deploying to the far horizon. 

Closer they came, and we could distinguish the pen- 
nons and glittering points of their spears. We could 
see their half-naked bodies gleaming in the clear 
moonlight. 

In a short time the foremost of them had ridden up 
to the bushes, halting as they came, and giving their 
animals to drink. Then one by one they wheeled out 
of the water, and trotting a short distance over the 
prairie, flung themselves to the ground, and commenced 
unharnessing their horses. 

It was evidently their intention to camp for the 
night. 

For nearly an hour they came filing forward, until 
two thousand warriors, with their horses, dotted the 
plain below us. 

We stood observing their movements. We had no 
fear of being seen ourselves. We were lying with oui 
bodies behind the rocks, and our faces partially 
screened by the foliage of the pifion trees. We could 
see and hes with distinctness all that was passing, 
for the savages were not over three hundred yards 
from our position. 

They proceed to picket their horses in a wide circle, 
far out on the plain. There the grama grass is longer 
and more luxuriant than in the immediate neighbour 
hood of the spring. They strip the animals, and bring 
away their horse-furniture, consisting of hair bridles, 
buffalo robes, and skins of the grizzly bear. Few 



THE WAE-TRAEL. 195 

have saddles. Indians do not generally use them on 
a war expedition. 

Each man strikes his spear into the ground, and 
rests against it his shield, bow, and quiver. He places 
his robe or skin beside it. That is his tent and 
bed. 

The spears are soon aligned upon the prairie, form- 
ing a front of several hundred yards ; and thus they 
have pitched their camp with a quickness and regu- 
larity far outstripping the Chasseurs of Yincennes. 

They are encamped in two parties. There are two 
bands, the Apache and Navajo. The latter is much 
the smaller, and rests farther off from our position. 

"We hear them cutting and chopping with their 
tomahawks among the thickets at the foot of the 
mountain. We can see them carrying fagots out 
upon the plain, piling them together, and setting 
them on fire. 

Many fires are soon blazing brightly. The savages 
squat around them, cooking their suppers. We care 
3ee the paint glittering on their faces and naked 
breasts. They are of many hues. Some are red, as 
though they were smeared with blood. Some appear 
of a jetty blackness. Some black on one side of the 
face, and red or white on the other. Some are 
mottled like hounds, and some striped and chequered. 
Their cheeks and breasts are tattooed with the forms 
of animals : wolves, panthers, bears, buffaloes, and 
other hideous devices, plainly discernible under the 
blaze of the pine-wood fires. Some have a red hand 
painted on their bosoms, and not a few exhibit as their 
device the death's head and cross-bones ! 

All theso are their ' coats ' of arms, symbolical of 
the ' medicine ' of the wearer ; adopted, no doubt, 
c rorn like silly fancies to those which put the crest 



196 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

npon the carriage, on the lacquey's button, 01 the 
brass seal-stamp of the merchant's clerk. 

There is vanity in the wilderness. In savage as in 
civilized life there is a ' snobdom.' 

What do we see ? Bright helmets, brazen a.nd steel, 
with nodding plumes of the ostrich ! These upon 
savages ! "Whence came these ? 

From the cuirassiers of Chihuahua. Poor devils! 
They were roughly handled upon one occasion by 
these savage lancers. 

We see the red meat sputtering over the fires upon 
spits of willow rods. We see the Indians fling the 
pinon nuts into the cinders, and then draw them 
forth again, parched and smoking. We see them 
light their claystones pipes, and send forth clouds 01 
blue vapour. We see them gesticulate as they relate 
their red adventures to one another. We hear thern 
shout, and chatter, and laugh like mountebanks. 
How unlike the forest Indian ! 

For two hours we watch their movements, and 
listen to their voices. Then the horse-guard is 
■detailed, and marches off to the caballada; and the 
Indians, one after another, spread their skins, roll 
themselves in their blankets, and sleep. 

The fires cease to blaze ; but by the moonlight we can 
distinguish the prostrate bodies of the savages. White 
objects are moving among them. They are dogs prowl- 
ing after the debris of their supper. These run from, 
point to point, snarling at one another, and barking 

thecoyotes that sneak around the skirts of the camp. 

Out upon the prairie the horses are still awake and 
busy. We can hear them stamping their hoofs and 
cropping the rich pasture. Erect forms arc seen 
standing at intervals along the line. These are the 
guards of the caballada. 



i 197 ) 



CHArTEE XX\II. 

THREE DATS IN THE TRAP. 

Dor attention was now turned to our own situation. 
Dangers and difficulties suddenly presented themselre* 
to our minds. 

' What if they should stay here to hunt !' 

The thought seemed to occur to all of us at the 
same instant, and we faced each other with looks of 
apprehension and dismay. 

' It is not improbable,' said Seguin, in a low and em- 
phatic voice. ' It is plain they have no supply of 
meat, and how are they to pass to the south without 
it? They must hunt here or elsewhere. Why not 
here ?' 

' If so, we're in a nice trap !' interrupted a hunter, 
pointing first to the embouchure of the defile and then 
to the mountain. ' How are we to get out ? I'd like 
to know that.' 

Our eyes followed the direction indicated by the 
speaker. In front of the ravine in which we were ex- 
tended the line cf the Indian camp, not a hundred 
yards distant from the rocks that lay around its 
entrance. There was an Indian sentinel still nearer : 
but it would be impossible to pass out, even were he 
qsleep, without encountering the dogs that prowled in 
numbers around the camp. 

Behind us, the mountain rose vertically like a wall. 
It was plainly impassable. We were famy 'in ti 
trap.' 



i l J8 THE SC.lLP-nONTERS. 

' Carrai ! ' exclaimed one of the men, ' we will die of 
hunger and thirst if they stay to hunt !' 

' We may die sooner,' rejoined another, ' if they take 
a notion in their heads to wander up the gully.' 

This was not improbable, though it was but little 
likely. The ravine was a sort of cul de sac, that 
entered the mountain in a slanting direction, and 
ended at the bottom of the cliff. There was no object 
to attract our enemies into it, unless indeed they 
might come up in search of piilon nuts. Some of 
their dogs, too, migbt wander up, hunting for fcod, or 
attracted by the scent of our horses. These were 
probabilities, and we trembled as each of them was 
suggested. 

' If they do not find us,' said Seguin, encouragingly, 
' we may live for a day or two on the pinons. "When 
these fail us, one of our horses must be killed. How 
much water have we ?' 

' Thank our luck, captain, the gourds are nearly 
full.' 

' But our poor animals must suffer.' 

' There is no danger of thirst,' said El Sol, looking 
downward, ' while these last ;' and he struck with his 
loot a large round mass that grew among the rocks. 
It was the spheroidal cactus. 'See!' continued he, 
' there are hundreds of them !' 

All present knew the meaning of this, and regarded 
the cacti with a murmur of satisfaction. 

' Comrades !' said Seguin, ' it is of no use to weary 
ourselves. Let those sleep who can. One can keep 
watch yonder while another stays up here. Go, San- 
chez !' and the chief pointed down the ravine to a spot 
that commanded a view of its mouth. 

The sentinel walked off, and took his stand in 
silence. The rest of us descended, and after looking 



THREE DAYS IN THE TRAP. 199 

to the muffling of our horses, returned to the station 
of the vidette upon the hill. Here we rolled ourselves 
in our blankets, and lying down among the rocks, 
slept out the night. 

# # # # * 

We were awake before dawn, and peering through 
the leaves with feelings of keen solicitude. 

There is no movement in the Indian camp. It is a 
bad indication. Had they intended to travel on they 
would have been stirring before this. They are 
always on the route before daybreak. These ' signs ' 
strengthen our feelings of apprehension. 

The grey light begins to spread over the prairie. 
There is a white band along the eastern sky. There 
are noises in the camp. There are voices. Dark 
forms move about among the upright spears. Tall 
savages stride over the plain. Their robes of skins 
are wrapped around their shoulders to protect them 
from the raw air of the morning. They carry fagots. 
They are rekindling the fires ! 

Our men talk in whispers, as we lie straining our 
eyes to catch every movement. 

' It's plain they intend to make a stay of it.' 
'Ay! we're in for it, that's sartin! Wagh! I 
wonder how long thai- a-goin' to 6quat hyar, any 
how.' 

' Three days at the least : may be four or five.' 
' Great gollies ! we'll be froze in half the time.' 
'What would they be doin' here so long? I 
warrant ye they'll clar out as soon as they can.' 
' So they will ; but how can they in less time ?' 
' They can get all the meat they want in a day. 
See ! yonder's buffalo a plenty ; look ! away yonder !' 
and the speaker points to several black objects outhaM?! 
against the brightening sky. It is a herd of buffaloes. 



2(lO THE SCA ,r HUNTERS. 

•That's true enough. In half a day I warrant 
they bin get all the meat they want ; but how- 
ire they a-goin ' to jirk it in less than three ? That's 
what I want to know.' 

' Es verdadl' says one of the Mexicans, a cibolero ; 
tres dias, al menosV (it is true — three days, at the 
least !) 

' A.y, hombre ! an' with a smart chance o' sunshine 
at that, I guess.' 

This conversation is carried on by two or three of 
the men in a low tone, but loud enough for the rest of 
as to overhear it. 

It reveals a new phase of our dilemma on which we 
have not before reflected. Should the Indians stay 
to 'jerk their meat, we will be in extreme danger 
from thirst, as well as of being discovered in our 
cache. 

"We know that the process of jerking buffalo beef 
takes three days, and that with a hot sun, as the 
hunter has intimated. This, with the first day 
-equired for hunting, will keep us four days in the 
ravine! 

The prospect is appalling. We feel that death or 
the extreme torture of thirst is before us. "We have 
no fear of hunger. Our horses are in the grove, and 
our knives in onr belts. "We can live for weeks upon 
them ; but will the cacti assuage the thirst of men 
and horses for a period of three or four days ? This 
is a question no one can answer. It has often relieved 
the hunter for a short period, enabling him to crawl 
on to the water ; but for days ! 

The trial will soon commence. The day has fairly 
broken. The Indians spring to their feet. About 
one-balf of them draw the pickets of their horses, and 
?oad them to the water. They adjust thei>- in-irljes. 



DAvS IN THE TKAP. 201 

pluck up their spears, snatch their bows, should?! 
their quivers, and leap on horseback. 

After a short consultation they gallop cfi to the 
eastward. In half-an-hour's time, we can see them 
' running ' the buffalo far out upon the prairie : pierc- 
ing them with their arrows, and impaling them on 
their long lances. 

Those who have remained behind lead their horses 
lown to the spring-branch, and back again to the 
grass. Now they chop down young trees, and carry 
fagots to the fires. See ! they are driving long stakes 
into the ground, and stretching ropes from one to the 
other. For what purpose ? We know too well. 

' Ha ! look yonder !' mutters one of the hunters, as 
this is first noticed ; ' yonder goes the jerking-line ! 
.Now we're caged in airnest, I reckin.' 

' Por todos santos, es verdadT 

*Carrambo! carajo! chingaro!' growls the cibolero, 
who well knows the meaning of those stakes and lines. 

We watch with a fearful interest the movements of 
the savages. 

We have now no longer any doubt of their intention 
to remain for several days. 

The stakes are soon erected, running for a hundred 
yards or more along the front of the encampment. 
The savages await the return of their hunters. Some 
mount and scour off toward the scene of the buffalo 
battue, still going on, far out upon the plain. 

We peer through the leaves with great caution, for 
fche day is bright, and the eyes of our enemies are 
quick, and scan every object. We speak only in 
tvkispers, though our voices could not be heard if we 
conversed a little louder, but fear makes us fancy that 
they might. We are all concealed except our eyes 
These glance through small loopholes in the foliage. 

o 



202 THK SC.Vl.lMIUiri'LKS. 

The Indian hunters have been gone about two hours. 
We now see them returning over the prairie in strag- 
gling parties 

They ride slowly back. Each brings his load before 
him on the withers of his horse. They have largo 
masses of red flesh, freshly skinned and smoking. 
Some carry the sides and quarters ; others the hump- 
ribs, the tongue, heart, and liver — the petits morceaux 
— wrapped up in the skins of the slaughtered animals. 

They arrive in camp, and fling their loads to the 
ground. 

Xow begins a scene of noise and confusion. The 
savages run to and fro, whooping, chattering, laugh- 
ing, and dancing. They draw their long scalping- 
knives, and hew off broad steaks. They spit them 
over the blazing fires. They cut out the hump ribs. 
They tear off the white fat, and stuff the boudins. 
They split the brown liver, eating it raw! They 
break the shanks with their tomahawks, and delve out 
tfio savoury marrow ; and, through all these opera- 
tions, they whoop, and chatter, and laugh, and dance 
over the ground like so many madmen. 

This scene lasts for more than an hour. 

Fresh parties of hunters mount and ride off. Those 
who remain cut the meat into long thin strips, and 
hang it over the lines already prepared for this pur- 
pose. It is thus left to be baked by the sun into 
1 tasajo.' 

We know part of what is before us. It is a tearful 
prospect ; but men like those who compose the band 
of Seguin do not despond while the shadow of a hope 
remains. Tt is a barren spot indeed, where they can- 
not find resources. 

' We needn't holler till we're hurt,' says one cf the 
hunters. 



THREE DAYS IN THE TRAP. 203 

' If yer call an empty belly a hurt,' rejoins another, 
1 T've got it already. I kud jest eat a raw jackass 'ith- 
out skinnin' him.' 

'Come, fellers!' cries a third, 'let's gramble for a 
meal o' these peenyuns.' 

Following this suggestion, we commence searching 
for the nuts of the pine. We find to our dismay that 
there is but a limited supply of this precious fruit : 
not enough either on the trees or the ground to sustain 
us for two days. 

'By gosh!' exclaims one, 'we'll have to draw for 
our critters.' 

' Well, and if we have to — time enough yet a bit, 7 
guess. We'll bite our claws a while first.' 

The water is distributed in a small cup. There ii 
still a little left in the xuages ; but our poor horses 
suffer. 

' Let us look to them,' says Seguin : and drawing 
his knife, he commences skinning one of the cacti. 
We follow his example. 

We carefully pare off the volutes and spikelets. A 
cool gummy liquid exudes from the opened vessels. 
We break the short stems, and lifting the green, 
globe-like masses, carry them to the thicket, and place 
them before our animals. These seize the succulent 
plants greedily, crunch them between their teeth, and 
swallow both sap and fibres. It is food and drink to 
them. Thank heaven ! we may yet save them ! 

This act is repeated several times, until they have 
had enough. 

We keep two videttes constantly on the look-out : 
one upon the hill, the other commanding the mouth 
of the defile. The rest of us go through the ravine, 
along the sides of the ridge, in search of the cones of 
the pin on. 

o 2 



20 t THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

Thus our first day is spent. 

The Indian hunters keep coming into their camp 

ntil a late hour, bringing with them their burdens of 

mffalo flesh. Fires blaze over the ground, and the 

savages sit around them, cooking and eating, nearly 

all the night. 

On the following day they do not rouse themselves 
until a late hour. It is a day of lassitude and idleness ; 
for the meat is hanging over the strings, and they can 
only wait upon it. They lounge around the camp, 
mending their bridles and lassos, or looking to their 
weapons ; they lead their horses to the water, and 
then picket them on fresh ground ; they cut large 
pieces of meat, and broil them over the fires. Hun- 
dreds of them are at all times engaged in this last occu- 
pation. They seem to eat continually. 

Their dogs are busy, too, growling over the knife- 
stripped bones. They are not likely to leave their 
feast ; they will not stray up the ravine while it lasts. 
In this thought we find consolation. 

The sun is hot all the second day, and scorches us 
iin the dry defile. It adds to our thirst ; but we do not 
regret this so much, knowing it will hasten the depar- 
ture of the savages. Towards evening, the tasajo 
begins to look brown and shrivelled. Another such 
day and it will be ready for packing. 

Our water is out, and we chew the succulent slices 
of the cactus. These relieve our thirst without 
quenching it. 

Our appetite of hunger is growing stronger. "We 
have eaten all the pinons, and nothing remains but to 
slaughter one of our horses. 

'Let us hold out till to-morrow,' suggests ona 
Give the poor brutes a chance. Who knows but 
what they may flit in the morning?' 



THKEE DAYS IN THE TKAP. 205 

This proposition is voted in the affirmative. No 
hunter cares to risk losing his horse, especially when 
out upon the prairies. 

Gnawed by hunger, we lie waiting for the third 
day. 

The morning breaks at last, and we crawl forward 
as usual, to watch the movements of the camp. The 
savages sleep late, as on yesterday ; but they arouse 
themselves at length, and after watering their animals, 
commence cooking. We see the crimson steaks and 
the juicy ribs smoking over the fires, and the savoury 
odours are wafted to us on the breeze. Our appetites 
are whetted to a painful keenness. "We can endure no 
longer. A horse must die ! 

Whose ? Mountain law will soon decide. 

Eleven white pebbles and a black one are thrown 
into the water bucket, and one by one we are blinded 
and led forward. 

I tremble as I place my hand in the vessel. It is 
like throwing the die for my own life. 

' Thank heaven ! my Moro is safe!' 

One of the Mexicans has drawn the black. 

' Thar's luck in that!' exclaims a hunter. 'Good 
fat mustang better than poor bull any day !' 

The devoted horse is in fact a well-conditioned 
animal ; and placing our videttes again, wo proceed tc 
the thicket to slaughter him. 

We set about it. with great caution. We tie him to 
a tree, and hopple his fore and hind feet, lest he may 
struggle. We purpose bleeding him to death. 

The cibolcro has unsheathed his long knife, while a 
man stands by, holding the bucket to catch the pre- 
cious fluid : the blood. Some have cups in tlieil 
hands, ready to drink it as it flows ! 

We arc startled by an unusual sound. Wo lo:?! 



206 THE SCALP-IIDNTI'JIS. 

through the leaves. A large grey animal is standing 
by the edge of the thicket, gazing in at us. It is 
wolfish-looking. Is it a wolf? No. It is an Indian 
dog! 

The knife is stayed ; each man draws his own. We 
approach the animal, and endeavour to coax it nearer 
But no ; it suspects our intentions, utters a low growl, 
and runs away down the defile. 

We follow it with our eyes. The owner of the 
doomed horse is the vidette. The dog must pass him 
to get out, and he stands with his long lance ready to 
receive it. 

The animal sees himself intercepted, turns and runs 
back, and again turning, makes a desperate rush to 
pass the vidette. As he nears the latter, he utters a 
loud howl. The next moment he is impaled upon the 
lance! 

Several of us rush up the hill to ascertain if the 
howling has attracted the attention of the savages. 
There is no unusual movement among them ; tliey 
have not heard it. 

The dog is divided and devoured before his quiver- 
ing flesh has time to grow cold ! The horse is re- 
prieved. 

Again we feed our animals on the cooling cactus, 
This occupies us for 6ome time. When we return to 
the hill a glad sight is before us. We see the warriors 
seated around their fires, renewing the paint upon 
their bodies. We know the meaning of this. 

The tasajo is nearly black. Thanks to the hot sun, 
it will soon be ready for packing ! 

Some of the Indians are engaged in poisoning the 
points of their arrows. All these ' signs ' inspire us 
with fresh courage. They will soon march ; if not to- 
night, by daybreak on the morrow. 



TUE DIGGERS. 207 

We lie congratulating ourselves, and watching 
svery movement of their camp. Our hopes continue 
rising as the day falls. 

Ha ! there is an unusual stir. Some order has been 
issued. ' VoilaT 'Mira! miraV 'See!' 'Look, look!' 
are the half -whispered ejaculations that break from 
the hunters as this is observed. 

' By the livin ' catamount, thar a-goin' to mizzle !' 

Wo see the savages pull down the tasajo and tie it 
in bunches. Then every man runs out for his horse ; 
the pickets arc drawn ; the animals are led in and 
watered ; they are bridled ; the robes are thrown over 
them and girthed. The warriors pluck up their 
lances, sling their quivers, seize their shields and 
bows, and leap lightly upon horseback. The next 
moment they form with the rapidity of thought, and 
wheeling in their tracks, ride off in single file, heading 
to the southward. 

The larger band has passed. The smaller, the 
Navajoes, follow in the same trail. No ! The latter 
has suddenly filed to the left, and is crossing the 
prairie towards the east ; towards the spring of the 
■Ojo de Vaca 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

THE DIGGERS. 

Odr first impulse was to rush down the ravine, satiety 
our thirst at the spring, and our hunger on the half- 
polished bones that were strewed over the prairio. 
Prudence, however, restrained us. 

' Wait till they're clar gone,' said Garey. ' They'll 
t>e out o' sight in three skips o' a goat.' 



208 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

'Yes! stay where we are a bit,' added another, 
'some of them may ride back; something may be 
fo»-gotten.' 

This was not improbable ; and in spite of the 
promptings of our appetites, we resolved to remain a 
while longer in the defile. 

"We descended straightway into the thicket to make: 
preparations for moving ; to saddle our horses and 
take off their muffiings, which by this time had 
nearly blinded them. Poor brutes ! they seemed to- 
know that relief was at hand. 

While we were engaged in these operations, our 
vidette was kept at the top «f the hill to watch both 
bands, and warn us when their heads should sink to- 
the prairie level. 

' I wonder why the Navajoes have gone by the Ojo- 
de Yaca,' remarked our chief, •"■•ith an apparent 
anxiety in his manner. ' It is well our comrades did 
not remain there.' 

' They'll be tired o' waitin' on us, whar they are,* 
rejoined Garey, ' unless blacktails is plentier among 
them Musquites than I think for.' 

' Vaya!' exclaimed Sanchez; ' they may thank the 
Santissima they were not in our company ! I'm spent 
to a skeleton. Mint] carraiV 

Our horses were at length bridled and saddled, and 
our lassoes coiled up. Still the vidette had not 
warned us. We grew every moment more impa- 
tient. 

'Come!' cried one; 'hang it! they're far enough 
now. They're not a-goin' to be gapin' back all the- 
way. They're looking ahead, I'm bound. Golly ! 
thar's fine shines afore them.' 

We could resist no longer. We called out to the 
vidette. He cou'd just see the heads of the hindmost 



THE DIGGERS. 20f 

' That will do,' cried Seguin ; ' come, take your 
horses !' 

The men obeyed with alacrity, and we all moved 
down the ravine, leading our animals. 

We pressed forward to the opening. A young man, 
the pueblo servant of Seguin, was ahead of the rest. 
He was impatient to reach the water. He had gained 
the mouth of the defile, when we saw him fall back 
with frightened looks, dragging at his horse, and 
exclaiming — 

' Mi arao I mi amo! tc davia son V (Master, master ! 
they are here yet !) 

' Who V inquired Seguin, running forward in 
haste. 

' The Indians, master ; the Indians !' 

' You are mad ! Where did you see them ?' 

' In the camp, master. Look yonder !' 

I pressed forward with Seguin to the rocks that 
lay along the entrance of the defile. We looked 
cautiously over. A singular sight met our eyes. 

The camp-ground was lying as the Indians had 
left it. The stakes were still standing ; the shaggy 
hides of the buffaloes, and piles of their bones, were- 
gtrewn upon the plain ; hundreds of coyotes were 
loping back and forward, snarling at one another, or 
pursuing one of their number which had picked up a 
nicer morsel than his companions. The fires were 
etill smouldering, and the wolves galloped through 
the ashes, raising them in yellow clouds. 

But there was a sight stranger than all this ; a 
startling sight to me. Five or six forms, almost 
human, were moving about among the fires, collecting 
the debris of skins and bones, and quarrelling with the 
wolves that barked round them in troops. Five or 
nix others, similar forms, were seated around a pile of 



210 THE SCAU'-H'JXTERS. 

burn up: wood, silently gnawing at hall-roasted ribs ■. 
Can they be -yes, they arc human beings ! 

I was for a moment awe-struck as I gazed at the 
shrivelled and dwarfish bodies, the long ape-like arms, 
and huge ditsproportioned heads, from which fell their 
hair in snaky tangles, black and matted. 

But one or two appeared to have any article of 
dress, and that was a ragged breech-clout. The 
others were naked as the wild beasts around them : 
naked from head to foot ! 

It was a horrid sight to look upon these fiend-like 
dwarfs squatted around the fires, holding up half- 
naked bones in their long wrinkled arms, and tearing 
off the flesh with their glistening teeth. It was 
a horrid sight, indeed ; and it Mas some moments 
before I could recover sufficiently from my amaze- 
ment to inquire who or what they were. I did so at 
length. 

'Los Yamparicos,' answered the cibolero. 

' Who ?' I asked again. 

*Los Indios Yamparicos, seilor.' 

' The Diggers, the Diggers,' said a hunter, thinking 
that would better explain the strange apparitions. 

'Yes, they are Digger Indians,' added Seguin. 
* Come on ; we have nothing to fear from them.' 

•But we have somethin' to git from them,' rejoined 
one of the hunters, with a significant look. 'Digger 
plew good as any other ; worth jest as much as " Pash 
chief." ' 

' No one must fire,' said Soguin, in a firm tone. ' It 
is too soon yet ; look yonder !' and he pointed over the 
plain, where two or three glancing objects, the 
helmets of the retreating warriors, could still be seen 
shove the grass. 

'llow are we goin to get them, then, captain?' in- 



TICK DKjaiCrjj. 21 

quired the hunter. 'They'll beat us to the rocks; 
they kin run like seared dogs.' 

'Better let them go, poor devils!' said Seguin, 
seemingly unwilling that blood should be spilled so 
wantonly. 

'No, captain,' rejoined the same speaker; 'we 
ivon't fire, but we'll git them, if we kin, 'ithout it. 
Boys, follow me down this way.' 

And the man was about guiding his horse in among 
;he loose rocks, so as to pass unperceived between the 
Iwarfs and the mountain. 

But the brutal fellow was frustrated in his design ; 
or at that moment El Sol and his sister appeared in 
;he opening, and their brilliant habiliments caught the 
syes of the Diggers. Like startled deer they sprang 
;o their feet, and ran, or rather flew, toward the foot 
>f the mountain. The hunters galloped to intercept, 
hem, but they were too late. Before they could 
some up, the Diggers had dived into the crevices of 
he rocks, or were seen climbing like chamois along 
he cliffs, far out of reach. 

One of the hunters only — Sanchez — succeeded in 
naking a capture. His victim had reached a high 
edge, and was scrambling along it, when the lasso of 
he bull-fighter settled round his neck. The next 
aoment he was plucked out into the air, and fell with 
i, ' cranch ' upon the rocks ! 

I rode forward to look at him. He was dead. He 
lad been crushed by the fall ; in fact, mangled to a 
hapeless mass, and exhibited a most loathsome and 
tideous sight. 

The unfeeling hunter recked not of this. With a 
;oarse jest he stooped over the body ; and severing 
he scalp, stuck it, recking and bloody, behind th<? 
vaist of his calzoncros ! 



( 212 ) 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

DACOMA. 

We all now hurried forward to the spring, and. dis- 
mounting, turned our horses' heads to the water, 
leaving them to drink at will. We had no fear of 
their running away. 

Our own thirst required slaking as much as theirs ; 
and, crowding into the branch, we poured the cold 
water down our throats in cupfuls. We felt as 
though we should never be surfeited ; but another 
appetite, equally strong, lured us away from the 
spring ; and we ran over the camp-ground in search 
of the means to gratify it. We scattered the coyotes 
and white wolves with our shouts and drove them 
with missiles from the ground. 

We were about stooping to pick up the dust-covered 
morsels, when a strange exclamation from one of the 
hunters caused us to look hastily round. 

' Malaray, camarados ; rnira el arco!' 

The Mexican who uttered these words stood point- 
ing to an object that lay upon the ground at his feet. 
We ran up to ascertain what it was. 

' Caspita !' again ejaculated the man. ' It is a white 
bow!' 

'A white bow, by gosh !' echoed Garey. 

'A white bow!' shouted several others, eyeing the 
object with looks of astonishment and alarm. 

' That belonged to a big warrior, I'll sartify,' said 
fcrarey. 

'Ay,' added anither, 'an' one that'll ride back for 



PACOMA. 213 

it, as soon as Holies ! look yonder ! lie's coming, 

by !' 

Our eyes rolled over the prairie together, eastward, 
as the speaker pointed. An object was just visible 
low down on the horizon, like a moving blazing star 
It was not that. At a glance we all knew what it 
was. It was a helmet, flashing under the sunbeam, 
as it rose and fell to the measured gallop of a horse. 

'To the willows, men! to the willows!' shouted 
■Seguin. 'Drop the bow! Leave it where it was. To 
your horses ! Lead them ! Crouch ! crouch !' 

We all ran to our horses, and, seizing the bridles, 
lialf-led, half-dragged them within the willow thicket. 
We leaped into our saddles, so as to be ready for any 
smergency, and sat peering through the leaves that 
screened us. 

• Shall we fire as he comes up, captain V asked one 
>{ the men. 

'No.' 

' We kin take him nicely, just as he stoops for the 

)OW.' 

' No ; not for your lives !' 

'What then, captain?' 

' Let him take it, and go,' was Seguin's reply. 

'Why, captain? what's that for?' 

Tools ! do you not see that the whole tribe would 
>e back upon our trail before midnight ? Are you 
uad ? Let him go. He may not notice our tracks, as 
>ur horses are not shod. If so, let him go as he came, 

tell you.' 

•' But how, captain, if he squints yonder-away ?' 

Garey, as he said this, pointed to the rocks at the 
aot of the mountain. 

1 Sac-r-r-re Dieu! the Digger!' exclaimed Seguin, 
Is countenance changing expression. 



214 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

The body lay on a conspicuous point, on its facev 
the crimson skull turned upward and outward, so that 
it could hardly fail to attract the eye of any one 
coming in from the plain. Several coyotes had already 
climbed up on the slab where it lay, and were smelling 
around it, seemingly not caring to touch the hideous 
morsel. 

' He s bound to see it, captain,' added the hunter. 

' If so, we must take him with the lance, the lasso, 
or alive. No gun must be fired. They might still 
hear it, and would be on us before we could get round 
the mountain. No ! sling your guns ! Let those who 
have lances and lassoes get them in readiness.' 

'"When would you have us make the dash, captain?' 

' Leave that to me. Perhaps he may dismount for 
the bow; or, if not, he may ride into the spring to 
water his horse, then we can surround him. If he see 
me Digger's body, he may pass up to examine it more 
closely. In that case we can intercept him without 
difficulty. Be patient ! I shall give you the signal.' 

During all this time, the Navajo was coming up at 
a regular gallop. As the dialogue ended, he had got 
within about three hundred yards of the spring, and 
etill pressed forward without slackening his pace. We 
kept our gaze fixed upon him in breathless silence 
eyeing both man and horse. 

It was a splendid sight. The horse was a large 
coal-black mustang, with fiery eyes and red open 
nostrils. He was foaming at the mouth, and the 
white flakes had clouted his throat, counter, and 
shoulders. He was wet all over, and glittered as he 
moved with the play of his proud flanks. The rider 
was naked from the waist up, excepting his helmet 
and plumes, and some ornaments that glistened on his 
deck, bosom, and wrists. A tunic-like skirt, bright 



uAWJIA. 215 

»ncl embroidered, covered his hips and thighs. Below 
fcho knee his legs were naked, ending in a buskined 
mocassin, that fitted tightly around the ankle. Unlike 
the Apaches, there was no paint upon his body, and 
his bronze complexion shone with the hue of health. 
His features were noble and warlike, his eye bold and 
uiercing, and his long black hair swept away behind 
him, mingling with the tail of his horse. He rode 
upon a Spanish saddle with his lance poised on the 
stirrup, and resting lightly against his right arm. His 
left was thrust through the strap of a white shield, 
and a quiver with its feathered shafts peeped over his 
shoulder. 

His bow was before him. 

It was a splendid sight, both horse and rider, as 
they rose together over the green swells of the prairie ; 
a picture more like that of some Homeric hero than 
of a savage of the ' wild west.' 

' Wagh !' exclaimed one of the hunters in an under- 
tone ; ' how they glitter ! Look at that 'ar head- 
piece ! It's fairly a-blazin ' !' 

' Ay,' rejoined Garey, ' we may thank the piece o' 
brass. We'd have been in as ugly a fix as he's in now 
if we hadn't sighted it in time. What !' continued 
the trapper, his voice rising into earnestnesr ; ' Dacoma, 
by the Etarnal ! The second chief of the Navajoes !' 

I turned toward Seguin to witness the effect of this 
announcement. The Maricopa was leaning over to 
him, muttering some words in an unknown tongue, 
and gesticulating with energy. I recognised the 
V.ame ' Dacoma,' and there was an expression of fierce 
hatred in the chiefs countenance as he pointed to the 
advancing horseman. 

'Well, then,' answered Seguin, apparently assent- 
uig t o the wishes of the other, ' he shall not escape, 



216 THE SCALP- H'JNTERS. 

whetner he sees it or no. But do not use your gun : 
they are not ten miles off : yonder behind the swell. 
We can easily surround him. If not, I can overtake 
him on this horse, and here's another.' 

As Seguin uttered the .nst speech he pointed to 
Moro. ' Silence !' he continued, lowering his voice 
Hish-sh!' 

The silence became death-like. Each man sat 
pressing his horse with his knees, as if thus to hold 
him at rest. 

The Navajo had now reached the border of the de- 
serted camp ; and inclining to the left, he galloped 
down the line, scattering the wolves as he went. He 
sat leaning to one side, his gaze searching the ground. 
When nearly opposite to our ambush, he descried tho 
object of his search, and sliding his feet out of the 
stirrup, guided his horse so as to shave closely past 
it. Then, without reining in, or even slacking his pace, 
he bent over until his plume swept the earth, and 
picking up the bow, swung himself back into the 
saddle. 

' Beautiful !' exclaimed the bull-fighter. 

' By gosh ! it's a pity to kill him,' muttered a hun- 
ter ; and a low murmur of admiration was heard 
among the men. 

After a few more springs, the Indian suddenly 
■wheeled, and was about to gallop back, when his eye 
was caught by the ensanguined object upon the rock. 
He reined in with a jerk, until the hips of his horse 
almost rested upon the prairie, and sat gazing upon 
the body with a look of surprise. 

'Beautiful!' again exclaimed Sanchez; 'carrambo, 
beautiful !' 

Tt was, in effect, as fine a picture as ever the eye 
looked upon The horse with his tail scattered upon 



o&ooma. 21? 

the ground, with crest erect and breathing nostril, 
quivering under the impulse of his masterly rider ; tho 
rider himself, with his glancing helmet and waving 
plumes, his bronze complexion, his firm and graceful 
seat, and his eye fixed in the gaze of wonder. 

It was, as Sanchez had said, a heautiful picture — a 
living statue ; and all of us were filled with admiration 
as we looked upon it. Not one of the party with per- 
haps an exception, should have liked to fire the shot 
that would have tumbled it from its pedestal. 

Horse and man remained in this attitude for some 
moments. Then the expression of the rider's counte- 
nance suddenly changed. His eye wandered with an 
inquiring and somewhat terrified look. It rested 
upon tbe water, still muddy with the trampling of our 
horses. 

One glance was sufficient ; and, with a quick strong 
jerk upon the bridle, the savage horseman wheeled, 
and struck out for the prairie. 

Our charging signal had been given at the same in- 
stant : and. springing forward, we shot out of the 
copse-wood in a hody. 

We had to cross the rivulet. Seguin was some 
paces in advance as we rode forward to it. I saw his 
horse suddenly baulk, stumble over the bank, and roll 
headlong into the water ! 

The rest of us went plashing through. I did not 
stop to look back. I knew that now the taking of the 
Indian was life or death to all of us ; and I struck my 
spur deeply, and strained forward in the pursuit. 

For some time we all rode together in a dense 
' clump.' "When fairly out on the plain, we saw the 
Indian ahead of us about a dozen lengths of his horse, 
and one and all felt with dismay that he was keeping 
ais distance, it not actually increasing it. 

p 



213 THE SCALP-IIUNTE11S. 

We had forgotten the condition of our animals, 
They were faint with hunger, and stiff from standing 
go long in the ravine. Moreover, they had just 
drunk to a surfeit. 

I soon found that I was forging ahead of my com- 
panions. The superior swiftness of Moro gave me the 
advantage. El Sol was still before me. I saw him 
rinding his lasso ; I saw him launch it, and suddenly 
jerk up ; I saw the loop sliding over the hips of the 
hying mustang. Ho had missed his aim. 

He was recoiling the rope as I shot past him, 
and I noticed his look of chagrin and disappoint- 
ment. 

My Arab had now warmed to the chase, and I wa<i 
soon far ahead of my comrades. I perceived, too, 
that I was closing upon the Navajo. Every spring 
brought me nearer, untd there were not a dozen 
lengths between us. 

I knew not how to act. I held my rifle in my 
hands, and could have shot the Indian in the back ; 
but I remembered the injunction of Seguin, and we 
were now closer to the enemy than ever. I did not 
know but that we might be in sight of them. I dared 
not fire. 

I was still undecided whether to use my knife or 
endeavour to unhorse the Indian with my clubbed 
rifle, when he glanced over his shoulder and saw that 
I was alone. 

Suddenly he wheeled, and, throwing his lance to a 
charge, came galloping back. His horse seemed to 
work without the rein, obedient to his voice and the 
touch of his knees. 

I had just time to throw up my rifle and parry the 
charge, which was a right point. I did not parry it 
-ucccssfully. The blade grazed my arm, tearing my 



DACOMA. 219 

flesh. The barrel of my rifle caught in the sling of the 
lance, and the piece was whipped out of my hands. 

The wound, the shock, and the loss of my weapon, 
had iiscomposed me in the manege of my horse, and it 
was some time before I could gain the bridle to turn 
him. My antagonist had wheeled sooner, as I knew 
ly the 'List,' of an arrow that scattered the curls 
over my right ear. As I faced him again another was 
on the string, and the next moment it was sticking 
through my left arm. 

I was now angry ; and, drawing a pistol from the 
holster, I cocked it, and galloped forward. I knew it 
was the only chance for my life. 

The Indian, at the same time, dropped his bow, and, 
bringing his lance to the charge, spurred on to meet 
me. I was determined not to fire until near and sure 
of hitting. 

"We closed at full gallop. Our horses almost 
touched. I levelled, and pulled trigger. The cap 
snapped upon my pistol ! 

The lance-blade glittered in my eyes ; its point was 
at my breast. Something struck me sharply in the 
face. It was the ring-loop of a lasso. I saw it settle 
over the shoulders of the Indian, falling to his elbows. 
It tightened as it fell. There was a wild yell, a quick 
jerk of my antagonist's body, the lance flew from his 
hands, and the next moment he was plucked out of 
his saddle, and lying helpless upon the prairie. 

His horse met mine with a concussion that sent 
both of them to the earth. We rolled and scrambled 
about, and rose again. 

When I came to my feet El Sol was standing over 
the Navajo, with his knife drawn, and his lasso looped 
around the arms of his captive. 

' The horse ! the horse ! secure the horse !' shouted 

p 2 



£20 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

Seguin, as he galloped up ; and the crowd dashed past 
me in pursuit of the mustang, which, with trailing 
bridle, was scouring over the prairie. 

In a few minutes the animal was lassoed, and led 
back to the spot so near being made sacred with my 
grave. 



CIIAPTEE XXX. 

A DINNER WITH TWO DISHES. 

El Sol, I have said, was standing over the prostrate 
Indian. Ilis countenance indicated the blending of 
two emotions, hate and triumph. 

His sister at this moment galloped up, and, leaping 
from her horse, advanced rapidly forward. 

' Behold !' said he, pointing to the Navajo chief: 
' behold the murderer of our mother !' 

The girl uttered a short, sharp exclamation ; and,, 
drawing a knife, rushed upon the captive. 

' .No, Luna !' cried El Sol, putting her aside ; ' no ; 
we are not assassins. That is not revenge. He shall 
not yet die. We will show him alive to the squaws 
of the Maricopa. They shall dance the mamanchic 
over this great chief — this warrior captured without a 
wound ! ' 

El Sol uttered these words in a contemptuous tone. 
The effect was visible on the Navajo. 

'Dog of a Coco!' cried lies making an. involuntary 
Btruggle to free himself; 'dog (;f a Coco! leagued 
with the pale robbers. Dog !' 

'Ha! you remember me, Dacoma ? It is well *' 

'Dog!' again ejaculated the Navajo, iiitemiptiw* 



A riXNEIl WITH TWO DISHES 22'" 

Aim ; and the words hissed through his teeth, white 
his eye glared with an expression of the fiercest ma 
lignity. 

' He ! he !' cried Kube, at this moment galloping up * 
' he ! he ! that Injun's as savagerous as a meat-axe. 

Lamm him ! d n him ! "Warm his collops wi' the 

bull rope : he's warmed my old mar. Nick syrup 
him !' 

' Let us look to your wound, M. Haller," said Seguin, 
alighting from his horse, and approaching me, as 1 
thought, with an uneasiness of manner. ' How is it > 
through the flesh? "You are safe enough; if, indeed, 
the arrow has not been poisoned. I fear : El Sol ! 
here ! quick, my friend ! tell me if this point has been 
dipped.' 

' Let us first take it out,' replied the Maricopa, 
coming up ; ' we shall lose no time by that.' 

The arrow was sticking through my fore-arm. The 
barb had pierced through the flesh, until about half 
of the shaft appeared on the opposite side. 

El Sol caught the feather end in both his hands, and 
snapped it at the lapping. He then took hold of the 
barb and drew it gently out of the wound. 

' Let it bleed,' said he, ' till I have examined the 
point. It does not look like a war-shaft ; but the 
Navajoes use a very subtle poison. Fortunately I 
possess the means of detecting it, as well as its anti- 
dote.' 

As he said this, he took from his pouch a tuft ot 
'aw cotton. "With this he rubbed the blood lightly 
from the blade. He then drew forth a small stone 
phial, and, pouring a few drops of liquid upon the 
metal, watched the result. 

I wiited with no slight feeling of uneasiness. 
Sejniin, too, appeared anxious ; and as I knew that h* 



222 I"KE SCiLI'-iiCXTERS. 

must have oftentimes witnessed tlie effect of a poisoned 
arrow, I did not feel very comfortable, seeing him 
watch the assaying process with so much apparent 
anxiety. I knew there was danger where he dreaded 
it. 

' M. Haller,' said El Sol, at length, ' you are in luck 
this time. I think I may call it luck, for your an- 
tagonist has surely some in his quiver not quite so 
harmless as this one. 

' Let me see,' he added ; and, stepping up to the 
Navajo, he drew another arrow from the quiver that 
still remained slung upon the Indian's back. After 
subjecting the blade to a similar test, he exclaimed — 

' I told you so. Look at this, green as a plantain ! 
He fired two: where is the other? Comrades, help 
me to find it. Such a tell-tale as that must not be left 
behind us.' 

Several of the men leaped from their horses, and 
searched for the shaft that had been shot first. I 
pointed out the direction and probable distance as 
near as I could, and in a few moments it was picked 
up. 

El Sol took it, and poured a few drops of his liquid 
on the blade. It turned green like the other. 

' You may thank your saints, M. Haller,' said the 
Coco, 'it was not this one made that hole in your 
arm, else it would have taken all the skill of Doctor 
Reichter and myself to have saved you. But what's 
this ? Another wound ! Ha ! He touched you as he 
made his right point. Let me look at it.' 

' I think it is only a scratch.' 

' This is a strange climate, M. Haller. I have seen 
such scratches become mortal wounds when not suffi- 
ciently valued. Luna ! Some cotton, sis ! I shall 
endeavour to dress yours so that you need not fea» 



A DIXXEll WITH TW'C DISHKS. 22 J 

that result. You deserve that much at my hands. 
But for you, sir, he would have escaped me' 

4 But for you, sir, he would have killed me.' 

' Well,' replied the Coco, with a smile, ' it is possible 
you would not have come off so well. Your weapon 
played you false. It is hardly just to expect a man to 
parry a lance-point with a clubbed rifle, though it was 
beautifully done. I do not wonder that you pulled 
trigger in the second joust. I intended doing so my- 
self, had the lasso failed me again. But we are in luck 
both ways. You must sling this arm for a day or two. 
Luna ! that scarf of yours.' 

' No !' said I, as the girl proceeded to unfasten a 
beautiful scarf which she wore around her waist; 
'you shall not : I will find something else.' 

' Here, mister ; if this will do,' interposed the young 
trapper Garey, ' you are heartily welcome to it.' 

As Garey said this, he pulled a coloured handker- 
chief out of the breast of his hunting- shirt, and held 
it forth. 

' You are very kind ; thank you !' I replied, 
although I knew on whose account the kerchief was 
given ; ' you will be pleased to accept this in return. 
And I offered him one of my small revolvers : a weapon 
that, at that time and in that place, was wortli its 
weight in pearls. 

The mountain man knew this, and very gratefully 
accepted the proffered gift; but much as he might 
have prized it, J saw that he was still more gratified 
with a simple smile that he received from another 
quarter, and I felt certain that the scarf would soon 
change owners, at any rate. 

I watched the countenance of El Sol to see if he 
had noticed or approved of this little by-play. I 
could perceive no unusual emotion upon it. He was 



224 THE SCALP -HUNTERS. 

busy •with my wounds, which he dressed in a manner 
that would have done credit to a member of the 
E. C. S. 

' Now,' said he, when he had finished, • you will be 
ready for as much more fighting in a couple of days at 
the farthest. You have a bad bridle-arm, M. Haller, 
but the best horse I ever saw. I do not wonder at 
your refusing to sell him.' 

Most of the conversation had been carried on in 
English ; and it was spoken by the Coco chief with 
an accent and emphasis, to my ear, as good as I had 
ever heard. He spoke Trench, too, like a Parisian; 
and it was in this language that he usually conversed 
with Scguin. I wondered at all this. 

The men had remounted with the intention of return- 
ing to the camp. Extreme hunger was now prompt- 
ing us : and we commenced riding back to partake of 
the repast so unceremoniously interrupted. 

At a short distance from the camp we dismounted, 
and, picketing our horses upon the gras,-, walked for- 
ward to search for the stray steaks and ribs we had 
lately seen in plenty. A new chagrin awaited us: 
not a morsel of flesh remained! The cayotes had 
taken advantage of our absence, and we could see 
nothing around us but naked bones. The thighs and 
ribs of the buffaloes had been polished as if scraped 
with a knife. Even the hideous carcase of the Digger 
had become a shining skeleton ! 

' "Wagb. !' exclaimed one of the hunters ; ' wolf now 
or nothing: hyar goes!' And the man levelled his 
rifle. 

'Hold!' exclaimed Seguin, seeing the act. 'Are 
you mad, sir ?' 

' I reckon not, capt'n,' replied the hunter, doggedly 
bringing down his piece. ' We must eat, I s'pose. I 



A DINNER WITH TWO DISHES. 225 

see nothin' but them about ; an' how are we goin' to 
get them 'ithout shootin' ?' 

Seguin made no reply, except by pointing to the bow 
which El Sol was making ready. 

' Eh-ho !' added the hunter ; ' yer right, capt ? n. I 
asks pardon. I had forgot that piece o' bone.' 

The Coco took an arrow from the quiver, and tried 
the head with the assaying liquid. It proved to be a 
hunting shaft ; and, adjusting it to the string, he sent 
it through the body of a white wolf, killing it instantly. 
He took up the shaft again, and wiping the feather, 
shot another, and another, until the bodies of five 
or six of these animals lay stretched upon the ground. 

' Kill a coyote when ye're about it,' shouted one of 
the hunters ; ' gentlemen like we oughter have least- 
wise two courses to our dinner.' 

The men laughed at this rough sally ; and El Sol, 
smiling, again picked up the arrow, and sent it whizzing 
through the body of one of the coyotes. 

' I think that will be enough for one meal, at all 
events,' said El Sol, recovering the arrow, and putting 
H back into the quiver. 

' Ay !' replied the wit ; ' if we wants more we kin go 
back to the larder agin. It's a kind o' meat that eats 
better fresh, anyhow.' 

' Well, it diz, boss. "Wagh ! I'm in for a griskin c 
the white. Hyar goes !' 

The hunters, laughing at the humour of their com- 
rades, drew their shining knives, and set about skin- 
ning the wolves. The adroitness with which this 
operation was performed showed that it was by no 
means new to them. 

In a short time the animals were stripped of their 
uides and quarters ; and each man, taking his quarter, 
commenced roasting it over the fire. 



226 THE SCALP-IIUNTEHS. 

'Fellers! what d'ye call this anyhow? Beef of 
mutton >' asked one, as they began to eat. 

' Wolf-mutton, I reckin,' was the reply. 

' It's dog-gone good eatin', I say ; peels off as tender 
as squ'll.' 

'It's some'ut like goat, ain't it?' 

'Mine lastes more like dog to me.* 

' It ain't bad at all ; better than poor bull any day.' 

' I'd like it a heap better if I war sure the thing 
hadn't been up to yon varmint on the rocks.' And 
the man who said this pointed to the skeleton of the 
Digger. 

The idea was horrible, and under other circum- 
stances would have acted as a sufficient emetic. 

'Wagh!' exclaimed a hunter; 'ye've'most take* 
away my stammuck. I was a-goin' to try the coyoat 
afore ye spoke. I won't now, for I seed them smellin' 
about him afore wc rid off.' 

'I say, old case, you dcn't mind it, do ye?' 

This was addressed to Eube, who was busy on his 
rib, and made no reply. 

'He? not he,' said another, answering for him. 
'Rube's ate a heap o' queery tit-bits in his time. 
Hain't ye, Eube ?' 

' Ay, an' afore yur be as long in the mountains as 
this child, 'ee'll bo glad to get yur teeth over wuss 
chawin's than wolf-meat : see if ce don't, young 
fellur.' 

' Man-meat, I reckin ?' 

' Ay, that's what Eube means.' 

' Boyees !' said Eube, not heeding the remark, and 
apparently in good humour, now that he was satisfy- 
ing his appetite ; ' what's the nassiest thing, learin 
ont man-meat, any o' 'ees iver chawed ?' 

' Woman-meat, I reckin. 



a Di:;si'.i: with two imshks. 227 

'"Eo chuckle-headed fool! yur needn't be so peert 
Cow, showin' yur smartness when 'taint called for no- 
how.' 

' Wal, leavin' out man-meat, as you say,' remarked 
one of the hunters in answer to Eube's question, ' a 
muss-rat's the meanest thing I ever set teeth on.' 

' I've chawed sage hare — raw at that,' said a second, 
' an' I don't want to eat anything that's bitterer.' 

' Owl's no great eatin',' added a third. 

' I've ate skunk,' continued a fourth ; ' an' I've ate 
sweeter meat in my time.' 

4 Carajo V exclaimed a Mexican, ' what do you think 
of monkey? I have dined upon that down south 
many's the time.' 

' Wal, I guess monkey's but tough chawin's ; but 
I've sharped my teeth on dry buffler hide, and it wa'n't 
as tender as it mout 'a been.' 

' This child,' said Kube, after the rest had given in 
their experience, ' leavin' monkey to the beside, have 
ate all them critturs as has been named yet. Monkey 
he hain't, bein' as thur's none o' 'em in these parts. It 
may be tough, or it mayn't ; it may be bitter, air it 
mayn't, for what I knows to the contrairywise ; but, 
oncest on a time, this niggur chawed a varmint that 
wa'n't much sweeter, if it wur as sweet.' 

' What was it, Eube ?' ' What was it ?' asked several 
m a breath, curious to know what the old trapper 
could h'ive eaten more unpalatable than the viands 
already named. 

''Twur turkey-buzzart then ; that's what it wur.' 

' Tiirkey-buzzard !' echoed every one. 

"Twa'n't anythin' else.' 

• Wagh ! that was a stinkin' pill, an' no mistake.' 

' That beats me all hollow.' 
And when did ye eat the buzzard, old boy V asked 



128 THE SGAT.P-HUXlKi.iS. 

one, suspecting that there might bo a ' story ' con 
nected with this feat of the earless trapper 

.Vy ! tell us that, Rube ; tell us !' cried several. 

' Wal,' commenced Rube, after a moment's silence, 
' 'twur about six yeern ago, T wur set afoot on the 
Arkansaw, by the Eapahoes, leastwise two bunder 
mile below the Big Timnicr. The cussed skunks tuk 
hoss, beaver, an all. lie! he!' continued the speaker, 
with a chuckle : ' he ! he ! tbey mout 'a did as welJ 
an' let ole Rube alone.' 

'I reckon that, too,' remarked a hunter. "Tain't 
like they made much out o' that speckelashun. Well 
— about the buzzard?' 

' 'Ee see, I wur cleaned out, an' left with jest a pair 
o' leggins, better than two hunder miles from any- 
whur. Bent's wur the nearest ; an' I tuk up the 
river in that direkshun. 

' I never seed varmint o' all kinds as shy. They 

wudn't 'a been, d n 'em ! if I'd 'a had my traps : 

but there wa'n't a critter, from the minners in the 
water to the bufflers on the paraira, that did'nt look 
like they knowed how this niggur were fixed. I kud 
git nuthin' for two days but lizard, an' scarce at that.' 

' Lizard's but poor eatin',' remarked one. 

' 'Ee may say that. This hyur thigh jeint's fat cow 
to it — it are.' 

And Rube, as he said this, made a fresh attack 
upon the ' wolf-mutton.' 

' I chawed up the ole leggins, till I wur as naked 
as Chimley Rock.' 

' G-o'ilies ! was it winter ?' 

'No. 'Twur calf-time, an' warm enuf for that mat 
ter. I didn't mind the want o* the buckskin that a- 
<*fty, but I kud 'a eat more o' it. 

'The third day I struck a town o' sand-rats. Thi| 



A DINNER WITH TWO DISHES. 22" 

niggur's liar wur longer then than it ar now. I mado 
snares o' it, an 1 trapped a lot o' the rats ; but they 
grew shy too, cuss 'em ! an' I had to quit that speck'- 
lashun. This wur the third day from the time I'd 
been set down, an' I wur getting nasty weak on it. 
I 'gin to think that the time wur come for this child 
to go under. 

' 'Twur a leetle arter sun-up, an' I wur sittin' on the 
bank, when I seed somethin' queery floatin' a-dowE 
the river. When I kim closer, I seed it wur the 
Karkidge o' a burner — calf at that — an' a couple c 
buzzarts floppin' about on the thing, pickin' its peepers 
out. 'Twur far out, an' the water deep ; but I'd made 
up my mind to fetch it ashore. I wan't long in 
strippin', I reckin.' 

Here the hunters interrupted Eube's story with a 
laugh. 

' I tuk the water, an' swam out. I kud smell the 
thing afore I wur half way, an' when I got near it. 
the birds mizzled. I wur soon clost up, an seed at a 
glimp that the calf wur as rotten as punk.' 

' What a pity !' exclaimed one of the hunters. 
I wa'nt a-gwine to have my swim for nuthin' ; so I 
tuk the tail in my teeth, an' swam back for the shore. 
I hadn't made three strokes till the tail pulled out !' 

' I then swum round ahint the karkidge, an' pushed 
't afore me till I got it landed high an' dry upon a 
sandbar. 'Twur like to fall to piece., when I pulled 
it out o' the water. 'Twa'nH eatable nohow !' 

Here TCube took a fresh mouthful of the wolf- 
mutton, and remained silent until he had masticated 
it. The men had become interested in the story, and 
waited with impatience. At length lie proceeded — 

'I seed the buzzarts still flyin' about, an' fresh ones 
a-comin' I tuk a idee that I mout git my claws udo» 



230 THE SCALI'-HUXTKRS. 

Borne o' 'em. So I lay down clost up agin the calf, 
an x)layed 'possum. 

' I wa n't long that a-way when the birds begun to 
iight on the sandbar, an' a big cock kim rioppin' up to 
the karkidge. Afore he kud Hop ofl" agin, I grupped 
him by the legs.' 

' Hooraw ! well done, by gollies!' 

' The cussed thing wur nearly as stinkin as t'other, 
but it wur die dog — buzzart or cafr— so I skinned the 
buzzart.' 

' And ate it ?' inquired an impatient listener. 

'No-o,' slowly drawled Hube, apparently 'miffed' 
at being thus interrupted. ' It ate me.' 

The laugh that followed this retort restored the old 
trapper to good humour again. 

' Did you go it raw, Eube ?' asked one of the 
hunters. 

' How could he do otherwise ? He hadn't a spark 
o' fire, an' nothing to make one out of.' 

Yur netarnal fool!' exclaimed Eube, turning sa- 
vagely on the last speaker. 'I kud make a fire ifthur 
wa'n't a spark nearer than h — 1 !' 

A wild yell of laughter followed this dreadful 
speech, and it was some minutes before the trapper 
recovered his temper sufficiently to resume his nar- 
r ation. 

' The rest o' the birds,' continued he at length, 
'seem' the ole cock rubbed out, grew shy, and kep 
away on t'other side o' the river. 'Twa'n't no use 
tryin' lhat dodge over agin. Jest then I spied a 
coyoat comin' lopin' down the bank, an' another fol- 
lerin' upon his heels, an' two or three more on ths 
same trail. I know'd it wud be no joke gruppin' ong 
o' them by the leg, but I made up my mind to try it , 
an' I lay down jest as afore clcst up 1o the calf 



A DINNER WITH TWO DISHKS. 2b t 

Twur no go. The cunnin' things seed the tloat-stiok, 
an kep clur o' the karkidge. I wur a-gwiae to cacher 
under some bush that wur by, an' I begun to carry it 
up, when all of a suddint I tuk a fresh idee in my 
head. I seed thur wur drift-wood a plenty on the 
bank, so I fotched it up, an' built a pen-trap roun' 
about the calf. In the twinklm' o' a goat's eye I had 
eix varmints in the trap.' 

' Hooraw ! Ye war safe then, old hoss.' 

' I tuk a lot o' stones, an' then clomb up on the pen, 
an' killed the hul kit on 'em. Lord, boyees ! 'eo 
never seed sich a snappin', an' snarlin', an" jumpin,' an 
yowltin', as when I peppered them donicks down on 
'em. He! he ! he ! Ho ! ho ! boo!' 

And the smoky old sinner chuckled with delight at 
the remembrance of his adventure. 

' You reached Bent's then safe enough, I reckin ?' 

"Ee— es. I skinned the critters wi' a sharp stone 
an' made me a sort o' shirt an' leggins. This niggur 
had no mind, comin' in naked, to gi' them thur joke at 
the Fort. I packed enough of the wolf-meat to last 
me up, an' I got thur in less'n a week. Bill wur thur 
himself, an' 'ee all know Bill Bent. He know'd me. 
I wa'n't in the Fort a half-an-hour till I wui spick- 
span in new buckskins, wi' a new rifle ; an 1 that rifle 
wur Tar-guts, now afore ye.' 

' Ha ! you got Tear-guts thar then?' 

' I got Tar-guts thur then, an' a gun she Mr. ~~^\ 
he ! he ! 'Twa'n't long arter I got her till T tried w 
He! he! he! Ho ! ho ! hoo!' 

And the old trappei went off into another fit oi 
chuckling. 

' What are ye laughin' at now, Bube ?' asked one o( 
his comrades. 

'He! he! he! What am I lorfin' at ! He! he! he ? 



232 THE SCA1J>-HUNTER8. 

Ho! ho! That ur the crisp o' the joke. Iie!toeIjaH 
What am 1 larfin' at?' 

' Tes ; tell us, man !' 

'It are this then I'm a-larfhV at,' replied Rube, 
sobering down a little, ' I wa'n't at Bent's three- 
days when who do'ee think shed kum to the Fort?' 

' Who ? Maybe the Eapahoes V 

' Them same Injuns ; an' the very nigeurs as set me 
afoot. They kum to the Fort to trade wi' Bill, an' 
thur I sees both my ole mar an' rifle !' 

' You got them back then T 

' That wur likely. Thur wur a sight o' mountainy 
men thur, at the time, that wa'n't the fellurs to see 
this child put down on the parairar for nuthin'. 
Yander's the critter !' and Bube pointed to the old 
mare. ' The rifle I gin to Bill, an' kep Tar-guts insteau,. 
seein' she wur a better gun.' 

' So you got square with the Eapahoes ?' 

' That, young fellur, jest rests on what ee ud call 
squar. Do 'eo see these hyur n:cks : them standin' 
sep'rate?' 

And the trapper pointed to a row of small notcnos 
tut in the stock of his rifle. 

'Ay, ay !' cried several men in reply. 

'Thur's five o' 'em, ain't thur?' 

' One, two, three ; yes, five.' 

' Them's Eapahoes !' 

Bnoe's story was ended. 



SM > 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

BLIJTUINO THE PURSUER — A TEAPPBB 8 RUSK. 

By this time the men had finished eating, and now 
began to gather around Seguin, for the purpose of de- 
liberating on what course we should pursue. One had 
already beeli sent up to the rocks to act as a vidette, 
and warn us in case any of the Indians should be 
descried upon the prairie. 

We all felt that we were still in a dilemma. The 
Navajo was our captive, and his men would come to 
seek for him. He was too important a personage 
(second chief of the nation) to be abandoned without 
n search, and his own followers, nearly half of the 
tribe, would certainly be back to the spring. Not 
finding him there, should they not discover our tracks, 
+hey would return upon the war-trail to their country. 

This, we all saw, would render our expedition im- 
practicable, as Dacoma's band alone outnumbered us ; 
and should we meet them in their mountain fastnesses, 
we should have no chance of escape. 

For some time Seguin remained silent, with his eyes 
fixed on the ground. He was evidently tracing out in 
Ms mind some plan of action. None of the hunters 
«hose to inteirupt him. 

'Comrades!' said he at length, 'this is an unfortu- 
nate coup, but it could not be avoided. It is well it is 
no worse. As it is, we must alter our plans. They 
will be sure to return on his track, and follow their 
own trail back to the Navajo towns. What then? 
Our band camnot either come on to the Pinon or cross 



'£ 34 THE SCAW-HUNTERS. 

the war-trail at any point. They would discover otB 
tracks to a certainty.' 

* Why, can't we go straight up to whar the rcst'» 
cached, and then take round by the old mine ? That 
won't interfere with the war-trail nohow.' 

This was proposed by one of the hunters. 
Vayal' rejoined a Mexican ; 'we should meet the 
Navajoes just when we had got to their town ! Carrai! 
that would never do, amigo. There wouldn't many of 
us get back again. Santissima I No.' 

' We ain't obleeged to meet them,' argued the first 
speaker. ' They're not a-goin' to stop at thur town 
wheu they find the nigger hain't been back.' 

' It is true,' said Seguin, ' they will not remain there. 
They will doubtless return on the war-trail again; 
but I know the country by the mine.' 

' So do I ! So do I !' cried several voices. 

' There is no game,' continued Seguin. ' We have 
no provisions ; it is therefore impossible for us to go 
that way.' 

' We could'nt go it, no how.' 

' We should starve before we had got through the 
Mimbres.' 

' Thar's no water that way.' 

'No, by gosh! not enough to make a drink for ft 
sand-rat.' 

' We must take our chances, then,' said Seguin. 

Here he paused thoughtfully, and with a gloomy 
expression of countenance. 

' We must cross the trail,' he continued, ' and go by 
the Prieto, or abandon the expedition.' 

The word 'Prieto,' in opposition to the phrase 
' abandon the expedition,' put the hunters to their wit's 
end for invention, and plan after plan was proposed ; 
all, however, ending in the probability, in fact cer* 



BLINDING THE PURSUER — A TRAPPER'S RUSE. 2&J 

tainty, that if adopted, our trail would be discovered 
by the enemy, and followed up before we could escape 
back to the Del Norte. They were, therefore, one 
after another rejected. 

During all this discussion, old Eube had not said a 
word. The earless trapper was sitting upon the 
prairie, squat on his hams, tracing out some lines with 
bis bow, and apparently laying out the plan of a for- 
tification ! 

' What are ye doin', old hoss ?' inquired one of his 
comrades. 

'My hearin' ain't as good as 'twur afore I kim into 
this cussed country ; but I thought I heerd some o' 
'ees say, jest now, we cudn't cross the Pash trail 'ith- 
out bein' follered in two days. That's a dod-rottcd 
Ue ! It are.' 

' How are ye goin' to prove it, hoss ?' 

' Chut, man ! yur tongue wags l^-ke a beaver's tail 
in flood-time.' 

' Can you suggest any way in which it can be done, 
Eube ? I confess I see none.' 

As Seguin made this appeal, all eyes were turned 
upon the trapper. 

'Why, cap, I kin surgest my own notion o' the 
thing. It may be right, an' it mayn't be right ; but if 
it wur follered out, thur'll be neither Pash nor Navagh 
that'll smell where we go for a week. If they diz, 'ee 
may cut my ears off.' 

This was a favourite joke with Eube, and the 
hunters only laughed. Seguin himself could not re- 
strain a smile, as he requested the speaker to proceed. 

'Fust an' fo'most, then,' said Eube, 'thur not a 
gwine to come arter that nigg»3r ia less than two 
days.' 

♦How can you tell that?' 

Q 2 



236 THE SCALP-H USTERS. 

* This way : — 'Ee see he's only second chief, an' they 
kin go on well enough 'ithout him. But that ain't it. 
The Injun forgot his bow: white at that. Now 'ee 
all knows as well as this child, that that's a big dis- 
grace in the eyes o' Injuns.' 

' You're right about that, hoss,' remarked one. 

* Wal, so the ole 'coon thinks. Now, 'ee see, it's aa 
plain as Pike's Peak that he kim away back 'ithout 
tellin' any o' the rest a syllabub about it. He'd not 
let 'em know if he kud help it.' 

' That is not improbable,' said Seguin. ' Proceed, 
Eube !' 

'More 'n that,' continued the trapper, 'I'll stake 
high thet he ordered them not to foller him afeerd thet 
some on 'em mout see what he kim for. If he'd 'a 
thought they knew or suspected, he'd 'a sent some 
other, an' not kum himself ; that's what he'd 'a done.' 

This was all probable enough ; and with the know- 
ledge which the scalp-hunters possessed of the Navajo 
character, they one and all believed it to be so. 

'I'm sartint they'll kum back,' continued Rube; 
' that ur his half o' the tribe, anyways ; but it'll be 
three days clur, an' well up till another, afore they 
drinks Peenyun water.' 

4 But they would strike our trail the day after. 

'If we wur green fools enough to let 'em, they wud.' 

' How can we prevent that ?' asked Seguin. 

' Easy as fallin' off a log.' 

'How? how?' inquired several at once. 

' By puttin' them on another scent, do 'ee see < ' 

'Yes! but in what way can we effect that?' inquired 
Seguin. 

'Why, cap, yur tumble has surely dumfoundered 
ye. I wud think less o' these other dummies not 
•oein' at a glimp how wu eaa do it.' 



BLINDING THE PURSUER — A TRAPPER'S RUSE. 237 

' I confess, Eube,' replied Seguin with a smile, ■ I 
do not perceive how we can mislead them.' 

' Wal, then,' continued the trapper, with a chuckle 
of satisfaction at his own superior prairie-craft, ' thif 
child's a-gwyne to tell ee how 'ee kin put 1hem on a 
track that'll jest carry them hell wards.' 

' Hooraw for you, old hoss !' 

' 'Be see a quiver on that Injun's back ?' 

'Ay, ay !' cried several voices. 

' It's full o' arrows, or pretty near it, I reckin.' 

'It is. Well?' 

'Wal, then, let some o'us ride the Injun's mustang: 
any other critter thet's got the same track '11 do ; 
away down the Pash trail, an' stick them things 
pointin' south'art ; an' if the Navagh don't travel that 
a-way till they comes up with the Pashes, 'ee may 
have this child's har for a plug o' the wust KaintuckJ 
terbaccer.' 

' Viva!' 'He's right, he's right!' 'Hooraw for old 
Eube !' and various similar exclamations, were uttered 
by the hunters. 

' 'Tain't needcessary for them to know why he shud 
'a tuk that track. They'll know his arrows ; that's 
enuf. By the time they gits back, with their fingers 
in thur meat-traps, we'll hev start enough to carry us 
from h — to Hackensack.' 

' Ay, that we will, by gollies !' 

"The band,' continued Eube, 'needn't come to the 
Pennyun spring no howsomever. They kin cross the 
war-trail higher up to to'rst the Heely, an' meet us on 
t'other side o' the mountain, whur thur's a grist o' 
game, both cattle an' bufiier, A plenty o' both on the 
ole mission lands, I'll be boun'. We'd hev to go thur 
anyways. Thur's no hopes o' meetin' the buffler tbii. 
side, arter the Bplurry them Injuns has gin them.' 



238 THE SCAL?-HUNTERS. 

' That io true enough,' said Seguin. ' We must go 
round the mountain before we can expect to fall in 
with the buffalo. The Indian hunt has chased them 
clean off from the Llanos. Come, then ! Let us set 
about our work at once. We have yet two hours 
before sunset. What would you do first, Rube? 
You have given the plan : I will trust to you for the 
details.' 

' Why, in my opeenyuii, cap, the fust thing to be 
did are to send a man as straight as he can gallip to 
whur the band"s cached. Let him fotch them acrost 
the trail?' 

' Where should they cross, do you think ?' 

' About twenty mile north o' hyur thur's a dry ridge, 
an' a good grist o' loose domcks. If they cross as 
they oughter, they needn't make much sign. I kud 
take a train o' Benfs waggons over, that 'ud puzzle 
deaf Smith to foller 'em. J kud.' 

' I will send a man off instantly. Here, Sanchez ! 
you have a good horse, and know the ground. It is 
not over twenty miles to where tney are cached. 
Bring them along the ridge, and with caution, as you 
have heard. You will find us around the north poin+ 
of the mountain. You can travel all night, and be up 
with us early in the morning. Away !' 

The torero, without making any answer, drew his 
horse from the picket, leaped into the saddle, and rode 
off at a gallop towards the north-west. 

'It is fortunate,' said Seguin, looking after him for 
some moments, ' that they have trampled the ground 
about here, else the tracks made in our late encounter 
would certainly have told tales upon ns.' 

' Thur's no danger about that,' rejoined Bube ; 'but 
when we rides from hyur, cap'n, we mustn't foller 
Hieir trail. They'd soon sight our back tracks. We 



BLINDING THE TURSUER — A TRAPPER'S RUSE. 239 

bad best keep up yander among the loose donicks.' 
Eube pointed to the shingle that stretched north and 
south along the foot of the mountain. 

' Yes, that shall be our course. We can leave this 
without leaving any tracks. What next ?' 

' The next idee are, to get rid o' yon piece o' ma- 
ohin'ry,' and the trapper, as he spoke, nodded in the 
direction of the skeleton. 

' True ! I had forgotten it. What shall wo do Svitb 
it?' 

' Bury it,' advised one. 

' Wagh ! no. Burn it !' cried another. 

'Ay, that's best,' said a third. 

The last suggestion was adopted. 

The skeleton was brought down ; the stains of the 
blood were carefully rubbed from the rocks ; the skull 
was shivered with a tomahawk, and the joints were 
broker) in pieces. The whole mass was then flung 
upon the fire, and pounded down among numerous 
•bones of the buffalo, already simmering in the cinders. 
An anatomist only could have detected the presence 
■of a human skeleton. 

' Now, Eube ; the arrows ?' 

'If 'eo'll leave that to me an' Bill Garey, I think 
them two niggurs kin fix 'em so as to bamfoozle any 
Injuns thur is in these parts. We'll hev to go three 
mile or tharabout; but we'll git back by the time 'ee 
hev filled yur gourds, an' got yur traps ready for 
skectin'.' 

' Yery well ! take the arrows.' 

' Four's gobs for us,' said Rube, taking that number 
from the quiver. ' Keep the rest. 'Ee'll want more 
wolf-meat afore we start. Thur's not a tail o' any- 
thin' else till we git ciur roun' the mountain yander. 
Billee! throw your ugly props over that Navagb 



<!40 IBE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

mustang. Putty hoss too ; but I wudn't giv my ol<* 
mar for a hul cavayard o' him. Gi's a sprig o' the 
black feather.' 

Here the old trapper drew one of the ostrich fea- 
thers out of the helmet of the Navajo chief, and con- 
tinued : — 

' Boyees ! take care o' the ole mar till I kum back,, 
an' don't let her stampede, do 'ee hear. I wants a 
blanket. Don't all speak at oncest !' 

' Here, Eube, here !' cried several, holding out their 
blankets. 

' E'er a one '11 do. "We needs three : Bill's an' mine 
an' another'n. Hyur, Billee ! take these afore ye. 
Now ride down the Pash trail three hunred yards, or 
tharabout, an' then pull up. Don't take the beater, 
pad, but keep alongside, an' make big tracks. Gallop, 
d — n ye !' 

The young hunter laid his quirt to the flanks of the 
mustang, and started at full gallop along the Apache 
trail. 

"When he had ridden a distance of three hundred 
yards or so, he halted to wait for further directions 
from his comrade. 

Old Eube, at the same time, took an arrow ; and, 
fastening a piece of ostrich feather to the barb, ad- 
justed it on one of the upright poles which the Indians 
had left standing on the camp-ground. It was placed 
In. such a manner that the head pointed southward in 
the direction of the Apache trail, and was so con- 
spicuous with the black feather that no one coming 
In from the Llanos could fail to see it. 

This done he followed his companion on foot, keep- 
ing wide out from the trail, and making his tracks- 
with great caution On coming up with Garey, he 
stuck a second arrow in the ground : its point also 



BUNnTHG THE PURSUER — A TRAPPER'S RUSE. 241 

Inclined to the south, and so that it could be seeij 
from the former one. 

Garey then galloped forward, keeping on the trail 
while Rube struck out again to the open prairie, and 
advanced in a line parallel to it. 

Having ridden a distance of two or three miles, 
Garey slackened his pace, and put the mustang to a 
slow walk. A little further on he again halted, and 
held Lis horse at rest, in the beaten path. 

Rube now came up, and spread the three blankets 
lengthwise along the ground, and leading westward 
from the trail. Garey dismounted, and led the animal 
gently on the blankets. 

As its feet rested on two at a time, each, as it 
became the rearmost, was taken up, and spread again 
in front ; and this was repeated until they had got 
the mustang some fifty lengths of himself out into the 
prairie. The movement was executed with an adroit- 
ness equal to that which characterised the feat of Sir 
Walter Raleigh. 

Garey now took up the blankets, and, remounting, 
commenced riding slowly back by the foot of the 
mountain ; while Rube returned to the trail, and 
placed a third arrow at the point where the mustang 
had parted from it. He then proceeded south as 
before. One more was yet needed to make doubly 
sure. 

When tie had gone about a half-a-n.ilo, we saw him 
stoop over the trail, rise up again, cross toward the 
mountain foot, and follow the path taken by his com- 
panion. The work was done ; the finger-posts were 
Bet ; the ruse was complete ! 

El Sol, mean while, had been busy Several wolves 
were killed and skinned, and the meat was packed i» 
their skins. The gourds were filled, our captive wa» 



242 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

tied on a mulo, and we stood waiting the return of the 
trappers. 

Seguin had resolved to leave two men at the spring 
as videttes. They were to keep their horses by the 
rocks, and supply them with the mule-bucket, so &• 
to make no fresh tracks at the water. One was tc 
remain constantly on an eminence, and watch the 
prairie with the glass. They could thus descry the 
returning Xavajoes in time to escape unobserved them- 
selves along the foot of the mountain. They were 
then to halt at a place ten miles to the north, where 
they could still have a view of the plain. There they 
were to remain until they had ascertained what di- 
rection the Indians should take after leaving the 
spring, when they were to hurrj" forward and join the 
band with their tidings. 

All these arrangements having been completed as 
Eube and Garey came up, we mounted our horses 
and rode by a circuitous route for the mountain foot. 
"When close in we found the path strewed with loose 
cut-rock, upon which the hoofs of our animals left no 
track. Over this we rode forward, heading to the 
north, and keeping in a line nearly parallel to the 
' war-trail.' 



CTIAPTEK XXXII. 

A BUFFALO ' SURROUND.' 

A march of twenty miles brought us to the place 
where wo expected to be joined by the band. We 
found a small stream heading in the Piiion range, and 
rmsiing westward to the San Pedro. It was fringed 



A BUFFALO 'SURRO0XD.' 243 

with cotton-trees and willows, and with grass in 
abundance for our horses. Here we encamped, 
kindled a fire in the thicket, cooked our wolf-mutton, 
ate it, and went to sleep. 

The band came up in the morning, having travelled 
all night. Their provisions were spent as well as 
ours ; and instead of resting our wearied animals, 
we pushed on through a pass in the sierra in hopes of 
finding game on the other side. 

About noon we debouched through the mountain 
pass into a country of ' openings :' small prairies, 
bounded by jungly forests, and interspersed with 
timber • islands.' These prairies were covered with 
tall grass, and buffalo ' signs ' appeared as we rode into 
them. We saw their ' roads,' ' chips,' and ' wallows. 

We saw, moreover, the ' hoi* de vache ' of the wild 
cattle. We would soon meet with one or the other. 

We were still on the stream by which we had 
camped the night before, and we made a 'noon halt ' 
to refresh our animals. 

The full-grown forms of the cacti were around us, 
bearing red and yellow fruit in abundance. We 
plucked the pears of the pitahaya, and ate them 
greedily ; we found service-berries, yampa, and roots 
of the pomme blanche. We dined on fruits and vege- 
tables of various sorts, indigenous only to this wild 
region. 

But the stomachs of the hunters longed for their 
favourite food, the ' hump ribs' and 'boudins ' of the 
buffalo ; and after a halt of two hours, wo moved 
forward through the openings. 

We had ridden about an hour among chapparal, 
when Rube, who was some paces in advance, acting 
as guide, turned in his saddle, and pointed downward. 

' Whai's there, Rube ?' asked Seguin, in a low voice 



244 THE SCALP-HUNTERS, 

' Fresh track, cap'n : bnffler !' 

' What number ; can you guess ?' 

* A gang o' fifty or tharabout. They've tuk through 
the thicket yander-away. I kin sight the sky. 
Thur's clur ground not fur from us ; an' T 1 stake 
a piew thur in it. T think it's a small paraira,. 
cap. 

' Halt here, men !' said Seguin ; ' halt and keep 
silent. Eide forward, Eube. Come, M. Haller, you're 
fond of hunting ; come along with us !' 

I followed the guide and Seguin through the bushes ; 
like them, riding slowly and silently. 

In a few minutes we reached the edge of a prairie 
covered with long grass. Peering cautiously through 
the leaves of the prosopis, we had a full view of the 
open ground. The buffaloes were on the plain ! 

It was, as Eube had rightly conjectured, a small 
prairie, about a mile and a-half in width, closed in or. 
all sides by a thick chapparal. Near the centre was a 
matte of heavy timber, growing up from a leafy under- 
wood. A spur of willows running out from the 
timber indicated the presence of water. 

' Thur's a spring yander,' muttered Eube. ' They've 
jest been a-coolin' thur noses at it.' 

This was evident enough, for some of the animals 
were at the moment walking out of the willows ; and 
we could see the wet clay glistening upon their flanks, 
and the saliva glancing down from their jaws. 

'How will we get at them, Bube?' asked Seguin; 
can we approach them, do you think ?' 

' I doubt not, cap. The grass 'ud hardly kiver us ; 
an' thur a-gwine out o' range o' the bushes. 

'How then? We cannot run them; there's not 
room. They would be into the thicket at the first 
dash. We would lose every hoof of them.' 



A BUFFALO 'SURKOUND." 245 

Sartin as Scripter.' 

* What is to be done ?' 

' This niggur sees but one other plan as kin lie used 
jest at this time.' 

'What is it?' 

' Surround.' 

' Eight ; if we can do that. How is the wind ?' 

' Dead as an Injun wi' his head cut off,' replied the 
trapper, taking a small feather out of his cap and 
tossing it in the air. ' See, cap, it falls plumb !' 

' It docs, truly.' 

'We kin easy git roun' tnem bufflers afore they 
wind us ; an' we hev men enough to make a picket 
fence about them. We can hardly set about it too 
soon, cap. Thur a movin' torst the edge yander.' 

' Let us divide the men, then,' said Seguin, turning 
his horse ; ' you can guide one-half of them to their 
stands. I will go with the other. M. Haller, you had 
better remain where you are. It is as good a stand 
as you can get. Have patience. It may be an hour 
before all are placed. When you hear the bugle, you 
may gallop forward and do your best. If we succeed, 
you shall have sport and a good supper ; which, I 
suppose, you feel the need of by this time.' 

So saying, Seguin left me, and rode back to the 
men, followed by old Eube. 

It was their purpose to separate the band into two 
parties, each taking an opposite direction; and to 
drop men here and there at regular intervals, around 
the prairie. They would keep in the thicket while on 
the march, and only discover themselves at a given 
signal. In this way, should the buffaloes allow time 
for the execution of the movement, we should bo 
almost certain of securing the whole gang. 

As soon as Seguin had left me, I looked to my rifle 



216 THE SCALP-HUNTEKS. 

and pistols, putting on a fresh set of caps. After 
that, having nothing else to occupy me, I remained 
seated in my saddle, eyeing the animals as they fed 
unconscious of danger. I was full of anxiety lest 
some clumsy fellow might discover himself too soon, 
and thus spoil our anticipated sport. 

After a while I could see the biids flying up from 
the thicket ; and the screaming of the blue jay indi- 
cated to me the progress of the ' surround.' 

Now and then, an old bull, on the skirts of the herd, 
would toss up his shaggy mane, snuff the wind, and 
strike the ground fiercely with his hoof; evidently 
labouring under a suspicion that all was not right. 

The others did not seem to heed these demon- 
strations, but kept on quietly cropping the luxuriant 
grama. 

I was thinking how nicely we were going to have 
them in the trap, when an object caught my eye, just 
emerging from the motte. It was a buffalo calf, and I 
saw that it was proceeding to join the gang. I 
thought it somewhat strange that it should be sepa- 
rated from the rest, for the calves, trained by their 
mothers to know the wolf, usually keep up with the 
herd. 

' It has stayed behind at the spring,' thought I. 
Perhaps the others pushed it from the water, and it 
could not drink until they were gone.' 

I fancied that it moved clumsily, as if wounded ; 
but it was passing through the long grass, and I could 
not get a good view of it. 

There was a pack of coyotes (there always is) 
sneaking after the herd. These, perceiving the calf 
as it came out of the timber, made an instant and 
simultaneous attack upon it. I could see them 
skipping around it, and fancied I could hear their 



A BUFFALO ' SURROUND.' 247 

fierce snarling ; but the calf appeared to fight its way 
through the thick of them ; and after a short while, I 
saw it close in to its companions, where 1 lost sight of 
it among the others. 

' A game young bull !' soliloquized I, and again I 
ran my eye around the skirting of the chapparal to 
watch how the hunters were getting forward with the 
* surround.' I could perceive the flashing of brilliant 
wings over the bramble, and hear the shrill voices of 
the jay-birds. Judging by these, I concluded that 
the men were n.oving slowly enough. It was half-an- 
hour since Seguiu had left me, and I could perceive 
that they were not half way round as yet. 

I began to make calculations as to how long I 
would have to wait, soliloquizing as follows : — 

' Diameter of the prairie, a mile and a-half. It is a 
circle three times that : four miles and a-half. Phew I 
I shall not hear the signal in much less than an hour. 

I must be patient then, and what! The brutes 

are lying down ! Good ! There is no danger now of 
their making off. We shall have rare sport ! One, 
two, three, six of them down !■ It must be the heat 
and the water. They have drunk too much. There 
goes another ! Lucky devils ! They have nothing 

else to do but eat and sleep, while I No. Eight 

down ! Well ! I hope soon to eat too. What an odd 
way they have of coming to the ground ! How dif- 
ferent from anything of the bovine tribe I have yet 
observed ! I have never seen buffaloes ' quieting ' 
down before. One would think that they were falling 
as if shot ! Two more alongside the rest ! They 
will soon be all upon the turf. So much the better. 
We can gallop up before they get to their feet again. 
Ob, that I could hear that horn !' 

Aud tnus I went on rambling from thought to 



248 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

thought, and listening for the signal, although I knew 
that it could not be given for some time yet. 

The buffaloes kept moving slowly onward, browsing 
as they went, and continuing to lie down one after 
another. I thought it stiange, their stretching them- 
selves thus succassively ; but I had observed farm 
cattle do the same, and I was at that time but little 
acquainted with the habits of the buffalo. Some of 
them appeared to toss about on the ground and kick 
violently. I had heard of a peculiarity of these 
animals, termed 'wallowing.' 'They are at it,' 
thought 1. I wished much to have a clearer view 
of this curious exercise, but the high grass pre- 
vented mc. I could only see their shaggy shoulders, 
and occasionally their hoofs Kicking up over the 
tward. 

I watched their movements with great interest, now 
feeling secure that the ' surround ' would be complete 
before they would think of rising. 

At length the last one of the gang followed tne 
example of his companions, and dropped over. 

They were now all upon their sides, half buried in 
the bunch-grass. I thought I noticed the calf still 
upon its feet ; but at that moment the bugle sounded, 
and a simultaneous cheer broke from all sides of the 
prairie. 

I pressed the spur to my horse's flank, and dashed 
out into the open plain. Fifty others had done tr« 
same, yelling as they shot out of the thicket. 

With my reins resting on my left fingers, and my 
rifle thrown crosswise, I galloped forward, filled 
with the wild excitement that such an adventure 
imparts. I was cocked and ready, resolved upon 
having tl-o first shot. 

It was but a short distance from where I had started 



A. BUFFALO SURROOND. 249 

(o the nearest buffalo. I *as sooii within range, my 
liorse flying like an arrow. 

'Is the animal asleep? I am within ten paces of 
trim, and still he stirs not ! 1 will fire at him as he lies.' 

I raised my rifle, levelled it, and was about to pull 
trigger, when something red gleamed before my eyes. 
[t was blood ! 

I lowered the piece with a feeling of terror, and 
commenced dragging upon the rein; but, before I 
could pull up, I was carried into the midst of the 
prostrate herd. Hero my horse suadenly stopped, 
and I sat in my saddle as if spell-bound. I was 
under the influence of a superstitious awe. Blood 
was before me and around me. Turn which way I 
would, my eye rested upon blood ! 

My comrades closed in, yelling as they came ; but 
their yelling suddenly ceased, and one by one reined 
up, as I had done, with looks of consternation and 
wonder. 

It was not strange, at such a sight. Before us lay 
the bodies of the buffaloes. They were all dead, or 
quivering in the last throes. Each had a wound 
above the brisket, anrl from this the red stream 
gurgled out, and trickled down their still panting 
sides. Blood welled from their mouths and out of 
their nostrils. Pools of it were filtering through the 
prairie turf; and clotted gouts, flung out by the 
struggling hoof, sprinkled the grass around them ! 

' Oh heavens ! what could it mean ?' 

' Wagh!' ' SantissimaV ' Sacre DieuV were the 
exclamations of the hunters. 

' Surely no mortal hand has done this ?' 

' It wa'n't nuthin' else,' cried a well-known voice, 
'ef yur call an Injun a mortal. 'Twur a red-skin, and 
this child — Look 'ee-e !' 



250 THE SCALF-IIUNTERS. 

I heard the click of a rifle along with this abrupt 
exclamation. I turned suddenly. Eube was in the 
act of levelling his piece. My eye involuntarily fol- 
lowed the direction of the barrel. There was an 
ebject moving in the long grass. 

' A buffalo that still kicks,' thought I, as I saw the 
tuass of dark-brown hair ; 'he is going to finish him : 
it is the calf!' 

I had scarcely made the observation when the 
animal reared up on its hind legs, uttering a wild 
human scream ; the shaggy hide was flung off ; and a 
naked savage appeared, holding out his arms in an 
attitude of supplication. 

I could not have saved him. The rifle had cracked, 
the ball had sped. I saw it piercing his brown 
jreast, as a drop of sleet strikes upon the pane of 
glass ; the red spout gushed forth, and the victim fell 
forward upon the body of one of the animals ! 

'Wagh! Eube!' exclaimed one of the men; 'why 
didn't ye give him time to skin the meat. He mout 
as well 'a done that when he war about it ;' and the 
man laughed at his savage jest. 

' Look 'ee hyur, boyees !' said Eube, pointing to the 
motte ; ' if 'ee look skarj., yur mout scare up another 
calf yander-away ! I'm a-gwino to see arter this 
Injun's har ; I am.' 

The hunters at the suggestion galloped oif to sur- 
round the motte. 

I felt a degree of irresolution and disgust at this 
cool shedding of blood. I drew my rein almost in- 
voluntarily, and moved forward to the spot where the 
savage had fallen. He lay back uppermost. He was 
naked to the breech-clout. There was the debouchure 
of a bullet below the left shoulder, and the black-red 
ttream was trickling down his ribs. The limbs still 



A BUFFALO ' SURROUND.* 25* 

quivered, but it was in the last spasms of parting 
life. 

The hide in which ke had disguised himself lay 
piled up where it had been flung. Beside it were a 
bow and several arrows. The latter were crimsoned 
to the notch, the feathers steeped in Llood and cling- 
ing to the shafts. They had pierced the huge bodies 
of the animals, passing through and through. Eacli 
arrow had taken many lives ! 

The old trapper rode up to the corpse, and leisurely 
dismounted from his mare. 

' Fifty dollar a plew !' he muttered unsheathing his 
knife and stooping over the body. ' It's more nl got 
for my own. It beats beaver all hollow. Cuss 
beaver, say this child. Plew a plug — ain't worth 
trappin' if the varmint wur as thick as grass-jumpers 
in calf-time. Ee-up, niggur,' he continued, grasping 
the long hair of the savage, and holding the face 
upward : ' let's get a squint at yur phisog. Hooraw ! 
Coyote Pash ! Hooraw !' 

And a gleam of triumph lit up the countenance of 
the old man as he uttered these wild exclamations. 

' Apash, is he V asked one of the hunters, who had 
remained near the spot. 

' That he are, Coyote Pash. The very niggurs 

that bobtailed this child's ears, d n 'em ! I kin 

swar to thur ugly picters anywhur I get my peepers 
upon 'em. Wouwough — ole wolfy ! got 'ee at last, 
has he ! Yur a beauty, an' no mistake.' 

So saying, he gathered the long crown-locks in his 
left hand ; and with wo slashes of his knife, held 
quarte and tierce, he cut a circle around the top of 
the head, as perfect as if it had been traced by 
compasses. He then took a turn of the hair over his 
wrist, giving it a quick jerk outward. At the same 

b 2 



202 THE SCALP- HUNTERS. 

Instant, the keen blade passed under the skin, and the 
scalp was taken ! 

'Counts six,' he continued, muttering to himself 
while placing the scalp in his belt ; • six at fifty — 
three hunder shiners for Pash har: cuss beave» 
trappin' ! says I.' 

Having secured the bleeding trophy, he wiped his 
fcnifo upon the hair of one of the buffaloes, and pro- 
ceeded to cut a small notch in the wood-work of his 
gun, alongside ave others that had been carved there 
already. These six notches stood for Apache's only ; for 
as my eye wandered along the outlines of the piece, 
J saw that there were many other columns in that 
terrible register ! 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

ANOTHER 'COUP.' 

A shot ringing in my ears caused me to withdraw my 
attention from the proceedings of the earless trapper. 
As I turned I saw a blue cloud floating away over 
the prairie, but I could not tell at what the shot had 
been fired. Thirty or forty of the hunters had sur- 
rounded the motte, and, halted, were sitting in their 
saddles in a kind of irregular circle. They were still 
at some distance from the timber, as if keeping out 
of arrow-range. They held their guns crosswise, and 
were shouting to one another. 

It was improbable that the savage was alone 
doubtless there were some of his companions in thff 
thicket. There could not be many, however, for the" 



ANOTHER ' COUP.' 253 

onderwood was not large enough to conceal more than 

dozen bodies, and the keen eyes of the hunters wero 
piercing it in every direction. 

They reminded me of so many huntsmen in a gorse 
waiting the game to bo sprung; but here, oh God! 
the game was human. 

It was a terrible spectacle. 1 looked towards 
Seguin, thinking that he might interfere to prevent 
the barbarous battue. He noticed my inquiring 
glance, and turned his face from me. I fancied that 
he felt ashamed of the work in which his followers 
were engaged ; but the killing, or capture, of what- 
ever Indians might be in the motte had now become a 
necessary measure, and I knew that any remonstrance 
of mine would be disregarded. As for the men them- 
selves, they would have laughed at it. This was thei 
pastime, their profession ; and I am certain that, ai 
that moment, their feelings were not very different 
from those which would have actuated them had they 
been driving a bear from his den. They were, per- 
haps, a trifle more intense ; certainly not more inclined 
towards mercy. 

I reined up my horse, and awaited with painful 
amotions the denouement of this savage drama. 

' Vaya, lrlandes ! "What did you see ?' inquired one 
of the Mexicans, appealing to Barney. I saw by this 
that it was the Irishman who had fired the shot. 

'A rid-skin, by japers !' replied the latter. 

' Warn't it yer own shadder yc sighted in the water? 
«ried a hunter, jeeringly. 

' Maybe it was the divil, Barney ?' 

'In trath, frinds, I saw a somethin' that looked 
ttoighty like him, and I kilt it too.' 

' Ha ! ha ! Barney has killed the devil. Ha ! ha !' 

*Waghl' exclaimed a trapper, spurring his horse 



204 7HK SCALP- HUNTERS. 

toward the thicket ; ' the fool saw notkin.' I'll chance 
it, anyhow.' 

'Stop, comrade!' cried the hunter Garey ; 'let's 
take a safer plan. Bed-head's right. Tkar's Injuns in. 
them bushes, whether he seen it or not ; that 6kunk 
warn't by himself, I reckin ; try this-a-way !' 

The young trapper dismounted, and turned his horse- 
broadside to the bushes. Keeping on the outside, he 
commenced walking the animal in a spiral ring that 
gradually closed in upon the clump. In this way his 
body was screened ; and his head only could be seen, 
above the pommel of his saddle, over which he rested 
Ids rifle, cocked and ready. 

Several others, observing this movement on the 
part of Garey, dismounted, and followed his example. 

A deep silence prevailed as they narrowed the 
diameters of their circling courses. 

In a short time they were close in to the motte, yet 
still no arrow whizzed out. Was there no one there r 
So it seemed ; and the men pushed fearlessly into the 
thicket. 

I watched all this with excited feelings. I began 
to hope there was no one in the bushes. I listened ti* 
every sound; I heard the snapping of the twigs and 
the muttering of the men. There was a moment's- 
eilence as they pushed eagerly forward. 

Then I heard a sudden exclamation, and a voice- 
calling out — 

' Dead red-skin !' ' Hurrah for Barney !' 

' Barney's bullet through him, by the holies !' cried 
another. ' Hilloa, old sky-blue ! Come hyar and svo 
what ye've done !' 

The rest of the hunters, along with the qi-devant 
goldier, now rode forward to the copse. I moved 
slowly after. On coming up, I saw them dragging th» 



ANOTHER ' COUP ' 255 

body of an Indian into the open ground : a naked 
savage, like the other. lie was dead and they were 
preparing to scalp bim. 

' Come now, Barney !' cried one of the men In a 
joking manner, 'the har's your'n. Why don't ye ofi 
wid it, man ?' 

' It's moine, dev yez say ?' asked Barney, appealing 
to the speaker. 

' Sartinly, you killed him ; it's your'n by right.' 

' An' is it raaly worth fifty dollars ?' 

' Good as wheat for that.' 

' WuJ yez be so frindly, thin, as to cut it aff foi 
me?' 

' Oh ! sartinly, wid all the plizyer of life,' replied the 
hunter, imitating Barney's accent, at the same timo 
severing the scalp, and handing it so him. 

Barney took the hideous trophy, and I fancy that 
he did not feel very proud of it. Poor Celt ! he may 
have been guilty of many a breach in the laws of 
garrison discipline, but it was evident that this was 
his first lesson in the letting of human blood. 

The hunters now dismounted, and commenced 
trampling the thicket through and through. The 
search was most minute, for there was still a mystery. 
An extra bow — that is to say, a third—had been found, 
with its quiver of arrows. Where was the owner? 
Could he have escaped from the thicket while the 
men were engaged around the fallen buffaloes ? He 
might, though it was barely probable ; but the hunters 
knew that these savages run more like wild animals, 
like hares, than human beings, and he might have' 
escaped to the chapparal. 

' If that Injun has got clar,' said Garey, ' we've no 
time to lose in skinnin' them bufflers. Thar's plenty 
»' his tribe not twenty mile from hvar. I calc'late.' 



400 THE SCALT-HUNTK11S. 

Look down among the willows there '.' cried tin 
voice of tho chief ; ' close down to the water.' 

There was a pool. It was turbid and trampled 
around the edges with buffalo tracks. On one side it 
was deep. Here willows dropped over and hung into 
the water. Several men pressed into this side, and 
commenced sounding the bottom with their lances 
and the butts of their rifles. 

Old Rube had come up among the rest, and was 
drawing the stopper of his powder-horn with his 
teeth, apparently with the intention of reloading. His 
small dark eyes were scintillating every way at once : 
above, around him, and into the water. 

A sudden thought seemed to enter his head. I saw 
him push back the plug, grasp the Irishman, who wag 
nearest him, by the arm, and mutter, in a low and 
hurried voice, ' Baddy ! Barney ! gi' us yur gun 
quick, man quick !' 

Barney, at this earnest solicitation, immediately 
surrendered his piece, taking the empty rifle that was 
thrust into his hand by the trapper. 

Bube eagerly grasped the musket, and stood for a 
moment as if he was about to fire at s-r.ne object in 
the pond. Suddenly he jerked his body round, and, 
poising the gun upward, fired into the thick foliage. 

A shrill scream followed ; a heavy body came 
crashing through the branches, and struck the ground 
at my feet. Warm drops sparkled into my eyes, 
causing me to wince. It was blood ! I was blinded 
with it ; I rubbed my eyes to clear them. I heard 
men rushing from all parts of the thicket. When I 
could see again, a naked savage was just disappearing 
through the leaves. 

' Missed him, by !' cried the trapper. ' To 

the devil wi' yur sodger gun!' he added, flinging 



ANOTHER ' CCUf . '257 

down 1&e musket, and rushing after with his drawr. 
knife. 

I followed among the rest. I heard several shots 
as we scrambled through tbe brushwood. 

When I had got to the outer edge I could see the 
Indian still on his feet, and running with the speed ol 
an antelope. He did not keep in a direct line, bat 
zigzag, leaping from side to side, in order to baffle the 
aim of his pursuers, whose rifles were all the time 
ringing behind hiin. As yet none of their bullets had 
taken effect, at least so as to cripple him. There was 
a streak of blood visible on his brown body, but the 
wound, wherever it was, did not seem to hinder him 
in his flight. 

I thought there could be no chance of his escape, 
and I had no intention of emptying my gun at such a 
mark. I remained, therefore, among the bushes, 
screening myself behind the leaves and watching the 
chase. 

Some of the hunters continued to follow him on foot, 
while the more cunning ones rushed back for their 
horses. These happened to be all on the opposite of 
side of the thicket with one exception, and that was 
the mare of the trapper Rube. She was browsing 
where Eube had dismounted, out among the slaugh- 
tered buffaloes, and directly in the line of the chase. 

As the savage approached her, a sudden thought 
eeemed to strike him, and. diverging slightly from his 
eourse, he packed up the picket pin, coiled the lasso 
with the dexterity of a gaucho, and sprang upon the 
aiiimal's back. 

It was a well-conceived idea, but unfortunate for 
the Indian. He had scarcely touched the saddle 
when a peculiar shout was heard above all other 
Bounds. It was a call uttered in the voice of th» 



*;»» THE SCILP-HUXTEKS. 

earless trapper. The mustang recognised it ; and, 
instead of running forward obedient to the guidance 
•:>f her rider, she wheeled suddenly and came galloping 
dack. At this moment, a shot fired at the savage 
(scorched her hip, and, setting back her ears, she com- 
menced squealing and kicking so violently that all her 
feet seemed to be in the air at the same time. 

The Ii-iian now endeavoured to fling himself from 
fhe saddle ; but the alternate plunging of the fore 
and hind quarters kept him for some moments tossing 
in a sort of balance. He was at length pitched out- 
ward, and fell to the ground iipon his back. Before 
he could recover himself a Mexican had ridden up, 
and with his long lance pinned him to the earth. 

A scene of swearing followed, in which Rube played 
the principal character ; in fact, had ' the stage to- 
himself.' ' Sodger guns ' were sent to perdition ; and 
as the old trapper was angry about the wound which 
his mare had received, ■ crook-eyed greenhorns ' came 
in for a share of his anathemas. The mustang, how- 
ever, had sustained no serious damage ; and after this 
was ascertained, the emphatic ebullitions of her 
master's anger subsided into a low growling, and then 
ceased altogether. 

As there appeared no ' sign ' that there were other 
savages in the neighbourhood, the next concern of 
the hunters was to satisfy their hunger. Fires were 
soon kindled, and a plenteous repast of buffalo meat 
produced the desired effect. 

After the meal was ended a consultation was held. 
It was agreed that we should move forward to the 
old mission, which was known to be not over teu 
miles distant. We could there defend ourselves in 
case of an attack from the tribe of Coyoteros, to 
which the three savages belonged. It was feared b"» 



A BITTER TRAP. 2t^ 

alltl.it these might strike our trail, and come up with 
ns before we could take our departure from the ruin. 

The buffaloes were speedily skinned and packed, 
and taking a westerly course, we journeyed on to tha 
mission. 



CHAPTEE XXXTV 

A BITTER TRAP. 

We reached the ruin a little after sunset. "We fright- 
ened the owl and the wolf, and made our bivouac 
among the crumbling walls. Our horses were picketed 
upon the deserted lawns, and in the long-neglecte<? 
orchards, where the ripe fruit was raining down its 
ungathered showers. Fires were kindled, lighting 
the gray pile with their cheerful blazing ; and joints 
of meat were taken out of the hide-packs and roasted 
for supper. 

There was water in abundance. A branch of the 
San Pe Jro swept past the walls of the mission. There- 
were yams in the spoliated gardens ; there were 
grapes, and pomegranates, and quinces, and melons, 
and pears, and peaches, and apples ; and with all 
these was our repast garnished. 

It was soon over, and videttes were thrown out on 
the tracks that led to the ruin. The men were weak 
and weary with their late fasting, and in a short while 
stretched themselves by their saddles and slept. 

So much for our first night at the mission of San 
Pedro. 

We were to remain for three days, or until the 
buffalo meat should be dried for packing. 



i£60 THE SCAL1HUXTK1.8. 



They were irksome days to me. Idleness displayed 
the bad qualities of my half-savage associates. The 
ribald jest and fearful oath mug continually in my 
ears, until I was Iain to wander off to the woods with 
the old botanist, who, during these three days, revelled 
in the happy excitement of discovery. 

I found companionship also in the Maricopa. This 
strange man had studied science deeply, and was con- 
versant with almost every noted author. He was 
reserved only when I wished him to talk of himself. 

Seguin during these days was taciturn and lonely. 
He took but little heed of what was going on around 
him. He seemed to be suffering from impatience, as 
every now and then he paid a visit to the tasajo. 
He passed many hours upon the adjacent heights 
looking anxiously towards the east : that point 
whence our spies would come in from the Piuon. 

There was an azotea on the ruin. I was in the 
habit of seeking this place at evening after the sun 
had grown less fervid. It afforded a fine prospect of 
the valley ; but its chief attraction to me lay in the 
retirement I could there obtain. The hunters rarely 
climbed up to it, and their wild and licensed converse 
•was unheard for the time. I used to spread my 
blanket among the crumbling parapets, and stretched 
upon it, deliver myself up to the sweet retrospect, or 
to still sweeter dreams that my fancy outlined upon 
the future. There was one object on my memory: 
upon that obj .ct only did my hopes dwell. 

I need not make this declaration ; at least to those 

who have truly loved. 

****** 

T am in my favourite place, on the azotea. It is 
•light, yet scarcely seems so. The moon, full-orbed, 



A BITTER TEAr. 26 » 

autumnal, is sweeping up towards the zenith, outlined 
against a heaven of cloudless blue. In mine own far 
land she will be the harvest moon. Here she shinea 
/lot on the harvest, nor lights the reaper home ; but 
the season, fair in all climes, is not less lovely in this 
romantic wilderness. I am on a table of the northern 
Andes, and many thousand feet above the ocean level. 
The air is thin and dry. I can perceive its extreme 
*enuity by the greater distinctness of objects, the 
apparent propinquity of mountains that I know to be 
distant, and the sharpness of their outlines against 
the sky. I can perceive it in the absence 01 extreme 
heat, in the buoyancy of my blood, and the lighter 
play of my lungs. Ah ! this is the home for the hectic 
cheek and the hollow eye. Would that nations wcild 
know this ! 

The air is vapourless and filled with the milky moon- 
light. My eye rests upon curious objects : upon 
'oinis of vegetation peculiar to the soil. They interest 
me with their newness. Under the white light, I see 
the lanceolate leaves of the yucca, the tall columns of 
the pitahaya, and the jaggy frondage of the cochineal 
cactus. 

There are sounds upon the air, the noises of the 
camp, of men and animals ; but, thank heaven ! I can 
only hear their distant hum. There is another voice 
more pleasing to my ear. It is the song of the 
mocking-bird ; the nightingale of the western world. 
He pours his mimic notes from the top of an adjacent 
tree : he is filling the air with his dulcet melody. 

The moon is over all, and I watch her in her 
upward course. There is a thought within me which 
she seems to rule : love ! How often have poets sung 
Df her power over the gentle passion ! With them it 
tfas only a fancy, a graceful expression ; but in alJ 



202 THE SCAL,r-IIU-\'T:'.K3. 

times, and in all climes, it has been a belief. Whence 
comes this belief? Has it not been communicated in 
the whisperings of a God ; the same whisperings that 
tell us of His own existence ? May not it be a truth ? 
May not mind in the end prove to be matter, electrio 
fluid ? If so, why not influenced by the silent moon ? 
Why not have its tides, as well as the air and the 
ooean? 

It is hard to yield up our college metaphysics ; to 
behold the worshipped men of our wrangling days, 
Stewart, Brown, Locke, Mill, and him of my own 
name, become degraded under modern light ; to see 
their elaborate structure, like an inverted pyramid, 
about to tumble down, because the apex on which it 
so long balanced itself turns out to be a false foun- 
dation. It is sad to look upon shelves filled with 
ponderous tomes, the very existence of which only 
proves that our fathers were our children, as we in 
our time must become the children of our descendants. 
It is sad to think that so many profound philosophers 
shall one day receive credit only for their hair-split- 
ting ingenuity. So shall it be. 

I followed this train of thought as I lay drinking in 
the milky essence of the moon. I dwelt on the scenes 
suggested by the ruins around me : the deeds and the 
misdeeds of cowled padres and their sandalled serfs. 
Thoughts of these were in my mind, tinging my spirit 
with the romance of the antique, but they did not 
long remain objects of reflection. I wandered over 
ihem and returned again to think of that fair being so 
lately loved and left : Zoe, beautiful Zoe ! 

Of her I had many thoughts. Was she thinking of 
me at the moment ? Was she pained by my absence ? 
Did she watch for my return? Wer6 her eyes be- 
dewed as she looked from the lonelv terrace? 



A BITTER TKAP. 2f3 

!My heart answered 'Yes,' with proud and happy 
pulsations. 

The horrid scenes I was now endoring for her sake, 
now long until they would be over? Days, many 
days 1 feared. I love adventure : my life has been 

its sport ; but such as this was ! I had not yet 

committed crime, though I had countenanced its 
committal by the necessity under which I had placed 
myself. How long before this necessity might force 
me into the enacting of deeds dark as those of the 
men who surrounded me ? 

In the programme placed before me by Seguin, 1 
had not bargained for such wantan cruelties as I was 
now compelled to witness. It was not the time to 
look back, but forward, and perhaps, over other 
scenes of blood and brutality, to that happier hour 
when I should have redeemed my promise, and won 
the prize, beautiful Zoe. 



My reverie was interrupted. I heard voices and 
footsteps : they were approaching the spot where I 
lay. I could see that there were two men engaged in 
an earnest conversation. They did not notice me, as 
I was behind some fragments of the broken parapet, 
and in the shadow. As they drew nearer, I recognised 
the patois of my Canadian follower, and that of his 
companion was not to be mistaken. The brogue was 
Barney's, beyond a doubt. 

These worthies, I had lately noticed, had become ' as 
thick as two thieves,' and were much in each other's 
company. Some act of kindness had endeared the 
' infantry ' to his more astute and experienced associate, 
who nad taken him under ' his patronage and protec- 
tion ' 



£04 THE SCALP-HUNTERS 

I was vexed at the intrusion ; but prompted by setae 
impulse of curiosity, I lay still and listened. 
Barney was speaking as they approached. 

' In trath, Misther Gowdey, an' it's meself 'ud go 
far this Missed night for a dhrap o' the crayter. I 
noticed the little kig afore ; but divil resave me av I 
thought it was anythin' barrin' cowld water. Vist- 
ment ! only think o' the owld Dutch sinner bringin' a 
whole kig wid 'im, an' keepin' it all to himself. Ye» 
are sure now it's, the stuff ?' 

' Oui ! oui ! C'est liqueur ! aguardiente.' 

' Agwardenty ye say, div ye ?' 

' Oui ! c'est vrai, Monsieur Barney. I have him 
smell, ver many time. It is of stink tres fort : dam 
strong ! dam good !' 

'But why cudn't ye stale it yerself? Yez know 
exactly where the doctor keeps it, an' ye might get at 
it a hape handier than I can.' 

' Pourquois, Barney ? pecause, mon ami, I help pack 
les possibles of Monsieur le Docteur. Bardie u ; tio 
would me suspect.' 

' I don't see the raizon clear. He may suspect ye 
at all evints. How thin ?' 

'Ah! then, n'importe. I sail make von grand 
swear, No ! I sail have ver clear conscience then.' 

' Be the powers ! we must get the licker anyhow ; 
av you won't, Misther Gowdey, / will ; that's said, 
isn't it?' 

' Oui ! Tres bien !' 

'"Well, thin, now or niver's the time. The ould 
fellow's just walked out, for I saw him meself. This 
is a nate place to drink it in. Come an' show me 
where he keeps it ; and, by St. PatricK ! I'm yer man 
to hook it.' 

* Tres bien ! allons ! Monsieur Barney, allons 



A BITTER TRAP. 266 

Unintelligible as this conversation may appear, I 
understood every word of it. The naturalist had 
brought among his packs a small keg of aguardiente, 
mezcal spirits, for the purpose of preserving any new 
species of the lizard or snake tribe he should chance 
to fall in with. What I heard then was neither more 
nor less than a plot to steal the keg and its contents ! 

My first impulse was to leap up and stop them in 
their design, as well as administer a salutary rebuke 
to my voyageur and his red-haired companion ; but a 
moment's reflection convinced me that they could be 
better punished in another way. I would leave them 
to punish themselves. 

I remembered that some days previous to our 
reaching the Ojo de Vaca, the doctor had captured a 
snake of the adder kind, two or three species of 
lizards, and a hideous-looking animal, called, in hunter 
phraseology, the horned frog : the agama cornuta of 
Texas and Mexico. These he had immersed in the 
spirit for preservation. I had observed him do so, 
and it was evident that neither my Frenchman nor the 
Irishman had any idea of this. I adopted the resolu- 
tion, therefore, to let them drink a full bumper of the 
' pickle ' before I should interfere. 

Knowing that they would soon return, I remained 
where I was. 

I had not long to wait upon them. 1 n a few minutes 
they came up, Barney carrying what I knew to be the 
devoted keg. 

They sat down close to where I lay, and prizing out 
the bung, filled the liquor into their tin cups, and 
commenced imbibing. 

A drouthier pair of mortals could not have been 
found anywhere ; and at the first draught, each 
emptied his cup to the bottom ! 



2f»f THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

1 It has a quare taste, hasn't it ?' said Barney, afte» 
ho had taken the vessel from his lips. 

'Oui! c'est vrai, monsieur!' 

' What dev ye think it is ?' 

' Je ne scais quoi. It smells like one dam one 

dam ' 

' Is it fish ye mane ?' 

' Oui ! like one dam feesh : un bouquet tries bizarre. 
Fichtre !' 

' I suppose it's something that the Mexicans have 
drapped in to give the agwardenty a flayver. It's 
mighty strong anyhow. It's nothing the worse av 
that ; but it 'ud he sorry drinkin' alongside a nate 
dimmyjan of Irish patyeen. Och ! mother av Moses ! 
but that's the raal bayvaridge " 

Hero the Irishman shook his head to express with 
more emphasis his admiration of the ' native ' whiskey. 

4 Well, Misther Gowdey,' continued he, ' whiskey "s 
whiskey at any rate ; and if we can't get the butther, 
: t's no raison we should refuse the brid ; so I'll thank 
ye for another small thrifle out of the kig,' and the 
speaker held out his tin vessel to be replenished. 

Gode lifted the keg, and emptied more of its con- 
tents into their cups. 

' Mon Dieu ! what is dis in my cops ?' exclaimed he, 
after a draught. 

* Fwhat is it ? Let me see. That ! Be my sowl ! 
that's a quare-looking crayter anyhow.' 

Sac-r-r-re! it is von dam Texan, von fr-r-og! 

Dat is de dam feesh we smell stink. Owah— ah— ah !' 

' Oh ! holy mother ! if here isn't another in moine ! 

By japers! it's a scurpion lizard! Hoach— Avach— 

wach !' 

* Ow — ah — ah— ack — ack ! Mon Dieu ! Oach— 
ach— ! Sac-r .' — ach— ach— o— oa— a— ach J' 



THE PHAXTOM CITY. 26t 

' Tare-an-ages ! Ho — acb ! the owld doctor has— 
oach— ack — ack ! — Blessed Vargin ! Ha — ho — hob. — 
aok! Poison! poison!' 

And the brace of revellers went staggering over tho 
azotea, delivering their stomachs, and ejaculating in 
extreme terror, as the thought struck them that there 
might be poison in the pickle ! 

I had risen to my feet, and was enjoying the joke in 
iuud laughter. This and the exclamations of the men 
brought a crowd of hunters up to the roof, who, aa 
60on as they perceived what had happened, joined in, 
and made the ruin ring with their wild peals. 

The doctor, who had come tip among the rest, was 
not so well satisfied with the occurrence. After a 
6hort search, however, the lizards were found and 
returned to the keg, which still contained enough of 
the spirit for his purposes. It was not likely to be 
disturbed again, even by the thirstiest hunter in the 
band. 



CHAPTER XXXV- 

THE PHANTOM CITY. 

On the morning of the fourth day our spies came in, 
and reported that the Navajoes had taken the southern 
trail. 

They had returned to the 6pring on the second day 
after our leaving it, and thence had followed tho 
guiding of the arrows. It was Dacoma's band ; in all 
(bout three hundred warriors. 

Nothing remained for us now but to pack tip as 
quickly as possible, and pursue our march to the 
north. 

s 2 



268 THE SC-1LP-HUXTERS. 

In an hour we were in our saddles, and following 
the rocky banks of the San Pedro. 

A long day's journey brought us to the desolate 
Taliey of the Gila, upon whose waters we encamped 
for the night. We slept near the celebrated ruins, the 
second resting-place.of the migrating Aztecs. 

With the exception of the botanist, the Coco chief, 
myself, and perhaps Seguin, no one in the band seemed 
to trouble himself about these interesting antiquities. 
The • sign ' of grizzly bears, that was discovered upoD 
the mud bottom, gave the hunters far more concern 
than the broken pottery and its painted hieroglyphics. 
Two of these animals were discovered near the camp, 
and a fierce battle ensued, in which one of the 
Mexicans nearly lost his life, escaping only after most 
of the skin had been clawed from his head and neck. 
The bears themselves were killed, and made part of 
our suppers. 

Our next day's march lay up the Gila, to the mouth 
of the San Carlos river, where we again halted for the 
night. The San Carlos runs in from the north ; and 
Seguin had resolved to travel up this stream for a 
hundred miles or so, and afterwards strike eastward 
to the country of the Xavajoes. 

"When this determination was made known, a spirit 
of discontent showed itself among the men, and 
mutinous whisperings were heard on all sides. 

Shortly after we halted, however, several of them 
strayed up the banks of the stream, and gathered some 
grains of gold out of its bed. Indications of the pre- 
cious metal, the quix-a, known among the Mexicans as 
the ' gold mother,' were also found among the rocks. 
There were miners in the band, who knew it well, 
and this served to satisfy them. There was no more 
talk of keening on to the Prieto. Perhaps the San 



THE HIAXTOM CTTY. 269 

Carlos might prove equally ricli. Euruour bad also 
given it the title of a ' golden river ;' at all events, 
the expedition must cross the head waters of the 
Prieto in its journey eastward ; and this prospect 
had the effect of quieting the mutineers, at least for 
the time. 

There was another influence : the character of 
Seguin. There was no single individual in the band 
who cared to cross him on slight grounds. They 
knew him too well for that ; and though few of these 
men set high value on their lives, when they believe 
themselves, according to 'mountain law,' in the right, 
yet they knew that to delay the expedition for the 
purpose of gathering gold was neither according to 
their compact with him nor agreeable to his wishes. 
Not a few of the band, moreover, were actuated by 
motives similar to those felt by Seguin himself, and 
these were equally desirous of pushing on to the 
Navajo towns. 

Still another consideration had its influence upon 
the majority. The party of Dacoma would be on our 
track as soon as they had returned from the Apache 
trail. We had, therefore, no time to waste in gold- 
hunting, and the simplest of the scalp-hunters knew 
this. 

By iaybreak we were again on the march, and rid- 
ing up the banks of the San Carlos. 

We had now entered the great desert which stretches 
northward from the Gila away to the head waters of 
the Colorado. We entered it without a guide, for not 
one of the band had ever traversed these unknown 
regions. Even Eube knew nothing about this part of 
the country. We were without compass too, but this 
we heeded not. There were few in the band who 
could not point to the north or the south within the 



270 THK SCALP-HUNTERS. 

variation of a degree : few of them but could, night or 
day, tell by the heavens within ten minutes of the true 
time. Give them but a clear sky, with the ' signs ' of 
the trees and rocks, and they needed neither compass 
nor chronometer. A life spent beneath the blue 
heaven of the prairie-uplands and the mountain 
' parks,' where a roof rarely obstructed their view of 
the azure vaults, had made astronomers of these reck- 
less rovers. 

Of such accomplishments was their education, drawn 
from many a perilous experience. To me their know- 
ledge of such things seemed ' instinct.' 

But we had a guide as to our direction, unerring as 
the magnetic needle : we were traversing the region 
of the 'polar plant,' the planes of whose leaves, at 
almost every step, pointed out our meridian. It grew 
upon our track, and was crushed under the hoofs ol 
our horses as we rode onward. 

Por several days we travelled northward through a 
country of strange-looking mountains, whose tops 
shot heavenward in fantastic forms and groupings. 
At one time we saw semi-globular shapes like the 
domes of churches ; at another, Gothic turrets rose 
before us ; and the next opening brought in view sharp 
needle-pointed peaks, shooting upward into the blue 
sky. "VVe saw columnar forms supporting others that 
lay horizontally ; vast boulders of trap-rock, suggest- 
ing the idea of some antediluvian ruin, some temple of 
gigantic Druids ! 

Along with singularity of formation was the most 
brilliant colouring. There were stratified rocks, 
red, white, green, and yellow, as vivid in their hues 
as if freshly touched from the palette of the painter. 

No smoke had tarnished them since they had been 
Bung up from their subterranean beds. No cloud 



the phantom cirr. 271 

draped their naked outlines. It was not a land of 

clouds, for as we journeyed amongst them we saw not 
n speck in the heavens ; nothing above us but the blue 
and limitless ether. 

I remembered the remarks of Seguin. 

There was something inspiriting in the sight of these 
bright mountains ; something life-like, that prevented 
us from feeling the extreme and real desolation by 
which we were surrounded. At times we could not 
help fancying that we were in a thickly-populated 
country ; a country of vast wealth and civilization, 
as appeared from its architectural grandeur. Yet in 
reality we were journeying through the wildest of 
■earth's dominions, where no human foot ever trod 
excepting such as wear the moccasin ; the region of the 
' wolf Apache and the wretched Yamparico. 

We travelled up the banks of the river, and here 
and there, at our halting-places, searching for the 
shining- metal. It could be found only in small quan- 
tities, and the hunters began to talk loudly of the 
Prieto. There, according to them, the yellow gold lay 
in ' lumps.' 

On the fourth day after leaving the Gila, we came 
to a place where the San Carlos cafioned through a 
bigh sierra. Here we halted for the night. When 
morning came, we found we could follow the river no 
farther without climbing over the mountain ; and 
Seguin announced his intention of leaving it and strik- 
ing eastward. The hunters responded to this declara- 
tion with a joyous huirah. The golden vision was 
again before them. 

We remained at the San Carlos until after the 
noon heat, recruiting our horses by the stream ; then 
mounting, wo rode forward into the plain. It was 
.our intention to travel all night, or until we reached 



272 THE SOALP-IIUXTERS. 

water, as we knew that without this, halting would be 
useless. 

We had not ridden far until we saw that a fearful 
' Jornada ' was before us ; one of those dreaded 
' stretches ' without grass, wood, or water. Ahead of 
us we could see a low range of mountains trending from 
north to south, and beyond these, another range still 
higher than the first. On the farther range there were 
snowy summits. "We saw that they were distinct 
chains, and that the more distant Mas of great eleva- 
tion. This we knew from the appearance upon its 
peaks of the ' eternal snow.' 

We knew, moreover, that at the foot of the snowy 
range we should find water, perhaps the river we were 
in search of ; but the distance was immense. If we 
did not find it at the nearer sierra, we should have an 
adventure : the danger of perishing from thirst. Such 
was the prospect. 

"We rode on over the arid soil ; over plains of lava 
and cut-rock that wounded the hoofs of our horses, 
laming many. There was no vegetation around us 
except the sickly green of the artemisia, or the fetid 
foliage of the creosote plant. There was no living 
thing to be seen save the brown and hideous lizard, 
the rattlesnake, and the desert crickets that crawled 
in myriads along the parched ground, and were 
crunched under the roofs of our animals. ' "Water .' ' 
was the word that began to be uttered in several lan- 
guages. 

'Water!' cried the choking trapper. 

' L'eau !' ejaculated the Canadian. 

' Agua ! agua !' shouted the Mexican. 

We were not twenty miles from the San Carlos 
before our gourd canteens were as dry as a shingle. 
The dust of the plains and the hot atmosphere had 



THE PHANTOM CITY. 271 

created unusual thirst, and we had 3oon emptied 
them. 

"We had started late in the afternoon. At sundown 
the mountains ahead of us did not seem a single mile 
nearer. We travelled all night, and when the sun rose 
again we were still a good distance from them. Such 
is the illusory character of this elevated and crystal 
atmosphere. 

The men mumbled as tbey talked. They held in 
their mouths leaden bullets and pebbles of obsidian, 
which they chewed with a desperate fierceness. 

It was some time after sunrise when we arrived at 
the mountain foot. To our consternation, no water 
could be found ! 

The mountains were a range of dry rocks, so parched- 
like and barren that even the creosote bush could not 
find nourishment along their sides. They were as 
naked of vegetation as when the volcanic fires first 
heaved them into the light. 

Parties scattered in all directions, and went up the 
ravines ; but after a long while spent in fruitless wan- 
dering, wo abandoned the search in despair. 

There was a pass that appeared to lead through the 
range ; and entering this, we rode forward in silence 
and with gloomy thoughts. 

We soon debouched on the other side, when a scene 
of singular character burst upon our view. 

A plain lay before us, hemmed in on all sides by 
high mountains. On its farther edge was the snowy 
ridge, with stupendous cliffs rising vertically from 
the plain, towering thousands of feet in hight. Dark 
rocks seemed piled upon each other, higher and higher 
until they became buried under robes of the spotless 
snow. 

But that which appeared most singular was the sur 



274 I'HE SCALP-HUNTEItS. 

face of the plain. It was covered with a mantle of 
virgin whiteness, apparently of snow ; and yet the more 
elevated spot from which we viewed it was naked, with 
a hot sun shining upon it. "What we saw in the valley, 
then, could not be snow. 

As I gazed over the monotonous surface of thia 
plain, and then looked upon the chaotic mountains 
that walled it in, my mind became impressed with 
ideas of coldness and desolation. It seemed as if 
everything was dead around us, and Nature was laid 
out in her winding-sheet. I saw that my companions 
experienced similar feelings, but no one epoke ; and 
we commenced riding down the pass that led into this 
singular valley. 

As far as we could see there was no prospect of 
water on the plain ; but what else could we do than 
cross it ? On its most distant border, along the base 
of the snowy mountains, we thought we could dis- 
tinguish a black line, like that of timber, and for this 
point we directed our march. 

On reaching the plain, what had appeared like snow 
proved to be soda. A deep incrustation of this lay 
upon the ground, enough to satisfy the wants of the 
whole human race ; yet there it lay, and no hand had 
ever stooped to gather it. 

Three or four rocky buttes were in our way, near 
the debouchure of the pass. As we rounded them, 
getting farther out into the plain, a wide gap began 
to unfold itself, opening through the mountains 
beyond. Through this gap the sun's rays were 
streaming in, throwing a band of yellow light across 
one end of the valley. In this the crystals of the 
soda, stirred up by the breeze, appeared floating in 
myriads. 

As we descended. I observed that objects began to 



THE PH1NT0M dry. 275 

assume a very different aspect from what they had 
exhibited from above. As if by enchantment, the 
cold snowy surface all at once disappeared. Green 
fields lay before us, and tall trees sprang up, covered 
with a thick and verdant frondage ! 

' Cotton-woods !' cried a hunter, as his eye rested 
on these still distant groves. 

4 Tall saplins at that — wagh !' ejaculated another. 

' Water thar, fellers, I reckin !' remarked a third. 

' Yes, siree ! Ycr don't see such sprouts as them 
growin' out o' a dry paraira. Look! hilloa !' 

' By gollies, yonder's a house !' 

' A house ? One, two, three ! A house? Thar's a 
whole town, if thar's a single shanty. Gee ! Jim, look 
yonder ! Wagh !' 

I was riding in front with Seguin, the rest of the 
band strung out behind us. I had been for some time 
gazing upon the ground, in a sort of abstraction, look- 
ing at the snow-white efflorescence, and listening to 
the crunching of my horse's hoofs through its icy 
incrustation. These exclamatory phrases caused mo 
to raise my eyes. The sight that met them was one 
that made me rein up with a sudden jerk. Seguin 
had done the same, and I saw that the whole band had 
halted with a similar impulse. 

We had just cleared one of the buttes that had 
hitherto obstructed our view of the great gap. This 
was now directly in front of us ; and along its base, 
s*n the southern side, rose the walls and battlements 
of a city ; a vast city, judging from its distance and 
the colossal appearance of its architecture. We could 
trace the columns of temples, and doors, and gates, 
and windows, and balconies, and parapets, and spires. 
There were many towers rising high over the roofs , 
and in the middle was a temple-like struc J .ur«. 



Hb THE SCALP-HITNTERS. 

with its massive dome towering far above all the 
others. 

I looked upon this sudden apparition with a feeling 
of incredulity. It was a dream, an imagination, a 
mirage. Ha ! it was the mirage i 

No ! The mirage could not effect such a complete 
picture. There were the roofs, and chimneys, and 
walls, and windows. There were the parapets of 
fortified houses, with their regular notches and em- 
orasures. It was a reality. It ivas a city ! 

Was it the Cibolo of the Spanish padre ? "Was it 
that city of golden gates and burnished towers? 
After all, was the story of tbe wandering priest true ? 
Who had proved it a fable ? Who had ever pene- 
trated this region, the very country in which the ec- 
clesiastic represented the golden city of Cibolo to 
exist ? 

I saw that Seguin was puzzled, dismayed, as well as 
myself. He knew nothing of this land. He had never 
witnessed a mirage like that. 

For some time we sat in our saddles, influenced by 
6trange emotions. Shall we go forward ? Yes ! We 
must reach water. We are dying of thirst ; and, im- 
pelled by this, we spur onward. 

We had ridden only a few paces farther when the- 
nunters uttered a sudden and simultaneous cry. A 
new object — an object of terror — was before us. 
Along the mountain foot appeared a string of dark 
forms. They were mounted men I 

We dragged our horses to their haunches, our 
whole line halting as one man. 

'Injuns!' was the exclamation of several. 

' Indians they must be,' muttered Seguin. ' There 
are no others heye. Indians ! No ! There never 
Were such as them. See! they are not men! Look* 



THE PHANTOM CITY. 277 

their huge horses, their long guns : they are yiants 1 
By heaven!' continued he, after a moment's pause, 
' they are bodiless ! They are ■phantoms !' 

There were exclamations of terror from the hunterg 
behind. 

Were, these the inhabitants of the city ? There was 
a striking proportion in the colossal size of the horses 
and the horsemen. 

For a moment I was awe-struck like the rest. Only 
a moment. A sudden memory flashed upon me. 1 
thought of the Hartz Mountains and their demons. I 
knew that the phenomenon before us could be no 
other ; an optical delusion ; a creation of the mirage. 

I raised my hand above my head. The foremost of 
the giants imitated the motion. 

I put spurs to my horse and gallopped forward. 
So did he, as if to meet me. After a few springs I had 
passed the refracting angle, and, like a thought, the 
shadowy giants vanished into air. 

The men had ridden forward after me, and having 
also passed the angle of refraction, saw no more of the 
phantom host. 

The city, too, had disappeared ; but we could trace 
the outlines of many a singular formation in the trap- 
rock strata that traversed the edge of the valley. 

The tall groves were no longer to be seen ; but a 
low belt of green willows, real willows, could bo 
distinguished along the foot of the mountain within 
the gap. Under their foliage there was something 
that sparkled in the sun like sheets of silver. It was 
water ! It was a branch of the Prieto. 

Our horses neighed at the sight ; and shortly after, 
we had alighted upon its banks, and were kneeling 
t«fore the sweet spirit of the stream. 



( 278 ) 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

THE MOUNTAIN OF GOLD. 

Ar tee so fatiguing a march, it was necessary to make 
a longer halt than usual. We stayed by the arroyo 
all that day and the following night. But the hunters 
longed to drink from the Prieto itself ; and the next 
morning we drew our pickets, and rode in the direction 
of that river. By noon we were upon its banks. 

A singular river it was, running through a region of 
bleak, barren, and desolate mountains. Through these 
the stream had forged its way by numerous canons, 
and rushed along a channel at most places inac- 
cessible. It was a black and gloomy river. Where 
were its sands of gold ? 

After riding for some distance along its banks, we 
halted at a point where its bed could be reached. 
The hunters, disregarding all else, clambered eagerly 
over the steep bluffs, and descended to the water. 
They hardly stayed to drink. They crawled through 
narrow interstices, between detached masses of rock 
that had fallen from above. They lifted the mud in 
their hands, and washed it in their cups ; they 
hammered the quartz rock with their tomahawks, and 
pounded it between great stones Not a particle of 
the precious metal could be found. They must either 
have struck the river too high up, or else the El 
Dorado lay still farther to the north. 

Wet, weary, angry, muttering oaths and expressions 
of disappointment, thev ©beyed the signal to ' march 
forward.' 



iilE MOUNTAIN 7 OF GOLD. 279 

We rode up the stream, halting for the night at 
another place where the water was accessible to our 
animals. 

Here the hunters again searched for gold, and again 
found it not. Mutinous murmurs were now spoken 
aloud. The gold country lay below them ; they had 
no doubt of it. The chief took them by the San Carlos 
on purpose to disappoint them. He knew this would 
prevent delay. ' He cared not for them. His own 
ends were all he wanted to accomplish. They might 
go back as poor as they had come, for aught ho 
cared. They would never have so good a chance again.' 

Such were their mutterings, embellished with many 
an oath. 

Seguin either heard not or did not heed them. Ho 
was one of those characters who can patiently bear 
until a proper cue for action may offer itself. He was 
fiery by nature, like all Creoles ; but time and trials 
had tempered him to that calmness and coolness that 
befitted the leader of such a band. When roused to 
action, he became what is styled in western phrase- 
ology a ' dangerous man ;' and the scalp-hunters 
knew it. He heeded not their murmurings. 

Long before daybreak, we were once more in our 
saddles, and moving onward, still up the Prieto. We 
had observed fires at a distance during the night, and 
we knew that they were at the villages of the ' Club ' 
Apache. We wished to pass their country without 
beiag seen ; and it was our intention, when daylight 
appeared, to cacher among the rocks until the following 
night. 

As dawn advanced, we halted in a concealed ra- 
vine, whilst several of us climbed the hill to recon- 
noitre. We could see the smoke rising over the 
distant villages ; but we had passed them in the dark- 



tbO THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

aess, and, instead of remaining in caclie, we continued 
on through a wide plain covered with sage and cactus 
plants. Mountains towered up on every side of us as 
we advanced. They rose directly from the plains, 
exhibiting the fantastic shapes which characterise 
them in those regions. Their stupendous precipices 
overlooked the bleak, barren tables frowning upon 
them in sublime silence. The plains themselves ran 
into the very bases of these cliffs. Water had surely 
washed them. These plateaux had once been the bed 
of an ancient ocean. I remembered Seguin's theory 
of the inland seas. 

Shortly after sunrise, the trail we were following 
led us to an Indian crossing. Here we forded the 
stream with the intention of leaving it and heading 
eastward. 

We halted our horses in the water, permitting them 
io drink freely. Some of the hunters, moving ahead 
of the rest, had climbed the high banks. We were 
attracted by their unusual exclamations. On looking 
upward, we perceived several of them standing on the 
top of a hill, and pointing to the north in an earnest 
and excited manner. Could it be Indians ? 

'What is it?' shouted Seguin, as we pushed for- 
ward. 

'A gold mountain! a gold mountain!' was the 
reply. 

We spurred our horses hurriedly up the hill. On 
reaching its top, a strange sight met our gaze. Away 
to the north, and as far as the eye could see, an object 
glistened in the sun. It was a mountain, and along 
its sides, from base to summit, the rocks glittered 
with the bright semblance of gold ! A thousand jeta 
danced in the sunbeams, dazzling the eye as it looked 
apon them. Was it a mountain of gold ? 



THE MOUNTAIN OF GOLD. 281 

The men were in a frenzy of delight. This was the 
mountain so often discussed over the bivouac fires. 
Who of them had not heard of it, whether credulous 
or not ? It was no fable, then. There it was before 
them, in all its burning splendour. 

I turned to look at Seguin. His brow was bent. 
There was the expression of anxiety on his counte- 
nance. He understood the illusion ; so did the 
Maricopa ; so did Eeichter. I knew it too. At a 
glance I had recognised the sparkling scales of the 
selenite. 

Seguin saw that there was a difficulty before us. 
This dazzling hallucination lay far out of our course ; 
but it was evident that neither commands nor per- 
suasion would be heeded now. The men were re- 
solved upon reaching it. Some of them had already 
turned their horses' heads and were moving in that 
direction. 

Seguin ordered them back. A stormy altercation 
ensued : in short, a mutiny. 

In vain Seguin urged the necessity of our hastening 
forward to the town. In vain he represented the 
danger we were in of being overtaken by Dacoma's 
party, who by this time were upon our trail. In vain 
the Coco chief, the doctor, and myself, assured our 
uneducated companions that what they saw was but 
the glancing surface of a worthless rock. The men 
were obstinate. The sight, operating upon long- 
cherished hopes, had intoxicated them. They had 
lost all reason. They were mad. 

' On then!' cried Seguin, making a desperate effort 
to restrain his passion. On, madmen, and satisfy 
yourselves — our lives may answer for your folly 1' 
and, so saying, he turned his horse, and headed him 
'or the shining beacon. 



282 



THK SCALIMIUNTEUS. 



The men rode after, uttering loud and joyful accla- 
mations. 

At the end of a long day's ride we reached the baso 
of the mountain. The hunters leaped from their 
horses, and clambered up to the glittering rocks. 
They reached them. They broke them with their 
tomahawks and pistol-butts, and cleft them with their 
knives. They tore off the plates of mica and glassy 
selenite. They flung them at their feet abashed and 
mortified ; and, one after another, came back to the 
plain with looks of disappointment and chagrin. Not 
one of them said a word, as they climbed into their 
saddles, and rode sullenly after the chief. 

We had lost a day by this bootless journey ; but 
our consolation lay in the belief, that our Indian 
pursuers following upon our trail would make the 
same detour. 

Our course now lay to the south-west ; but finding 
a- spring not far from the foot of the mountain, we 
remained by it for the night. 

After another day's march in a south-easterly course, 
Rube recognised the profiles of the mountains. We 
were nearing the great town of the Navajoes. 

That night we encamped on a running water, 8 
branch of the Prieto that headed to the eastward, 
A vast chasm between two cliffs marked the course 
of the stream above us. The guide pointed into tlie 
gap, as we rode forward to our halting-place. 

' What is it, Eube ?' inquired Seguin. 

' 'Ee see that gully ahead o' us ?' 

•Yes; what of it?' 

1 The town's thur.' 



( 2b3 * 



CHAPTEE XXXY1I. 

NAVAJ0A. 

It was near evening of the next day when we arrived 
at the foot of the sierra, at the debouchure of the 
canon. 

We could not follow the stream any farther, as there 
was no path by the channel. It would be necessary 
to pass over the ridge that formed the southern jaw 
of the chasm. There was a plain trail among scrubby 
pines ; and, following our guide, we commenced 
riding up the mountain. 

After ascending for an hour or so, by a fearful road 
along the very brink of the precipice, we climbed the 
crest of the ridge, and looked eastward. We had 
reached the goal of our journey. The town of the 
Navojoes was before us ! 

'Voila!' 'Mira el pueblo!' ' Thar's the town!' 
4 Hurrah !' were the exclamations that broke from the 
hunters. 

' Oh God ! at last it is !' muttered Seguin, with a 
singular expression of countenance. ' Oh, God be 
praised ! Halt, comrades ! halt !' 

Our reins were tightened, and we sat on our weary 
tiorscs looking over the plain. A magnificent pano- 
rama, magnificent under any circumstances, lay before 
us ; but its interest was heightened by the peculiar 
circumstances under which we viewed it. 

We are at the western extremity of an oblong 
ralley, looking up it lengthwise. It is not a valley 
though so called in the language of Spanish America, 
but a plain walled ir> on oil sides y mountains. It Is 

t 2 



284 THE SCALF-HUXTERS 

elliptical in form, the diameter of its foci being ten of 
twelve miles in length. Its shortest diameter is five 
or six. It has the surface of a green meadow, and its 
perfect level is unbroken by brake, bush, or hillock. 
It looks like some quiet lake transformed into an 
emerald. 

It is bisected by a line of silvery brightness that 
curves gracefully through its whole extent, marking 
the windings of a crystal stream. 

But the mountains ! "What wild-looking mountains, 
particularly those on the north side of the valley ! 
They are granite upheaved. Nature must have 
warred at the birth of these : the very sight of them 
suggests the throes of a troubled planet. Huge rocks 
hang over, only half resting upon fearful precipices ; 
vast boulders that seem as though the touch of a 
feather would cause them to topple down. Grim 
chasms open into deep, dark defiles, that lie silent, and 
solemn, and frowning. Here and there, stunted trees, 
the cedar and piflon, hang horizontally out, clinging 
along the cliffs. The unsightly limbs of the cactus, 
and the gloomy foliage of the creosote bush, grow 
together in seams of the rocks, heightening their cha- 
racter of ruggedness and gloom. Such is the southern 
barrier of the valley. 

Look upon the northern sierra ! Here is a contrast, 
a new geology. Not a rock of granite meets the eye ; 
but there are others piled as high, and glistening with 
the whiteness of *snow. These are mountains of the 
milky quartz. They exhibit a variety of peaks, naked 
and shining ; crags that hang over deep treeless 
ravines, and needle-shaped summits aspiring to the 
sky. They too have their vegetation : a vegetation 
that suggests ideas of the desert and desolation. 

The two sierras appear to converge at the eastern 



NAVAJO A. 285 

end of the valley. "We are upon a transverse ridge 
that shuts it in upon the west, and from this point we 
view the picture. 

Where the valley ends eastwardly, we perceive 
•dark background lying up against the mountains. 
We know it is a pine-forest, but we are at too great a 
distance to distinguish the trees. Out of this forest 
the stream appears to issue ; and upon its banks, near 
the border of the woods, we perceive a collection of 
strange pyramidal structures. They are houses. It 
is the town of Navajoa ! 

Our eyes were directed upon it with eager gaze. 
We could trace the outlines of the houses, though they 
stood nearly ten miles distant. They suggested 
images of a strange architecture. There were some 
standing apart from the rest, with terraced roofs, and 
we could see there were banners waving over them. 
One, larger than the rest, presented the appearance of 
a temple. It was out on the open plain, and by the 
glass we could detect numerous forms clustered upon 
its top — the forms of human beings. There were 
others upon the roofs and parapets of the smaller 
houses ; and many more moving upon the plain nearer 
us, driving before them flocks of animals, mules and 
mustangs. Some were down upon the banks of tho 
river, and others we could see plunging about in the 
water. 

Several droves of horses, whose mottled flanks 
showed their breed, were quietly browsing on the 
open prairie. Flocks of wild swans, geese, and 
gruyas winged the* "* way up and down the meandering 
current of the stream. 

The sun was setting. The mountains were tinged 
with an amber-coloured light ; and the quartzoso 
orystals sparkled on the peaks » f the southern sierra. 



286 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

It was a scene of silent beauty. How King, thought 
I, ere its silence would be broken by the sounds of 
ravage and ruin ! 

"We remained for some time gazing up the valley, 
without any one uttering his thoughts. It was the 
silence that precedes resolve. In the minds of my 
companions there were varied emotions at play ; 
varied in kind as they differed in intensity : differing 
as widely as heaven from hell. 

Some were holy. Men sat straining their eyes over 
the long reach of meadow, thinking, or fancying, that 
in the distance they might distinguish a loved object : 
a wife, a sister, a daughter, or perhaps the object of a 
still dearer and deeper affection. No ; the last could 
not be. None could have been more deeply affected 
than he who was seeking for his child. A father's 
love was the strongest passion there. 

Alas ! there were other emotions in the bosoms of 
those around me : passions dark and sinful. Fierce 
looks were bent upon the town. Some of these 
betokened fierce feelings of revenge ; others indicated 
the desire of plunder ; and others still spoke, fiend- 
like, of murder! There had been mutterings of this- 
from day to day as we journeyed. Men disappointed 
in their golden dreams had been heard to talk about 
the price of scalps ! 

By a command from Seguin the hunters drew bacfc 
among the trees, and entered into a hurried council. 
How was the town to be taken? We could not 
approach it in the open light. The inhabitants would 
see us before we could ride up, and make their escape 
to the forest beyond. This would defeat the whole- 
porpose of our expedition. 

Could not a party get round to the eastern end oi 
the valley and prevent this ? Not through the plain 



THE XJGHT AMBUSCADE. 287 

itself, for the mountains rested upon its surface, -with- 
out either foot-hills or paths along their sides. In 
Bome places vast cliffs rose to the height of a thousand 
feet, stepping directly upon the level plain. This idea 
was given up. 

Could we not turn the southern sierra, and come in 
through the forest itself? This would bring us close 
to the houses under cover. The guide was questioned, 
and answered in the affirmative. But that could only 
be accomplished by making a detour of nearly fifty 
miles. We had no time for such a journey, and the 
thought was abandoned. 

The town, then, must be approached in the nighi 
This was the only plan practicable ; at least, the most 
likely to succeed. It was adopted. 

It was not Seguin's intention to make a m'ght 
attack, but only to surround the buildings, keeping at 
some distance out, and remain in ambush till the 
morning. All retreat would thus be cut off, and wo 
should make sure of taking our captives under the 
light of day. 

The men threw themselves to the ground, and, 
holding their bridles, waited the going down of the 
buii. 



CHAPTEE XXXVIII. 

THE NIGHT AMBUSCADE. 



A. short hour passes. The bright orb sinks behind us, 
and the quartz rock saddens into a sombre hue. The 
straggling rays of twilight hrver but a moment over 
tho chalky cliffs, and then vanish away. It is night. 



288 THE SCALP-IIUXTERS. 

Descending the hills in a long string, we ariive upon 
the plain. "We turn to the left, and keep round the 
mountain foot. The rocks guide us. 

We proceed with caution, and exchange our words 
only in whispers. "We crawl around and among loose 
boulders that haTe fallen from above. "We turn many 
6purs that shoot out into the plain. Occasionally we 
halt and hold council. 

After a journey of ten or twelve miles, we find our- 
selves opposite the Indian town. We are not over a 
mile from it. We can see the fires burning on the 
plain, and hear the voices of those who move around 
them. 

At this point the band is divided. A small party 
remains, making its cache in a defile among the rocks. 
These guard the captive chief and the antajo of mules. 
The rest move forward, guided by Eube, who carries 
them round the edge of the forest, here and there 
dropping a picket of several men as he proceeds. 

These parties conceal themselves at their respective 
stations, remain silent, and wait for the signal from 
the bugle, which is to be given at the hour of day- 
break. 

****** 

The uight passes slowly and silently. The fires one 
by one go out, until the plain is wrapped in the gloom 
of a moonless midnight. Dark clouds travel over the 
sky, portending rain : a rare phenomenon in these 
regions. The swan utters its wild note, the gruya 
whoops over the stream, and the wolf howls upon the 
skirts of the sleeping village. The voice of the bull- 
bat wails through the air. You hear the " flap, flap" 
of his long wings as he dashes down among the 
cocuyos. You hear the hoof-stroke on the hard plain, 
the • crop' of the browsing steed, and the tinkling of 



THE SIGHT AMBUSCADE. 289 

Ibe bit-ring ; for the horses eat bridled. At intervals, 
a drowsy hunter mutters through his sleep, battling 
In dreams with some terrible foe. Thus goes the 
night. These are its voices. 

They cease as daybreak approaches. The wolf 
howls no longer ; the swan and the blue crane are 
silent ; the night-hawk has filled his ravenous maw, 
and perches on the mountain pine ; the fire-flies dis- 
appear, chased by the colder hours ; and the horses, 
having eaten what grew within their reach, stand in 
lounging attitudes, asleep. 

A gray light begins to steal into the valley. It 
flickers along the white cliffs of the quartz mountain. 
It brings with it a raw cold air, that awakens the 
hunters. 

One by one they arouse themselves. They shiver 
as they stand up, and carry their blankets wrapped 
about their shoulders. They feel weary, and look 
pale and haggard. The gray dawn lends a ghastly 
hue to their dusty beards and unwashed faces. 

After a short while they coil up their trail-ropes and 
fasten them to the rings. They look to their flints 
and priming, and tighten the buckles of their belts. 
They draw forth from their haversacks pieces of dry 
tasajo, eating it raw. They stand by their horses, 
ready to mount. It is not yet time. 

The light is gathering into the valley. The blue 
jnist that hung over the river during the night is rising 
upward. We can see the town. We can trace the 
odd outlines of the houses. What strange structures 
ftiey are ! 

Some of them are higher than others : one, two, four 
stories in height, They are each in form like a pyra- 
mid without its apex. Each upper story is smaller 
than that below it, the roofs of the lower ones serving 



290 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

as terraces for those above. They are of a whitish 
yellow, the colour of the clay out of which they are 
built. They are without windows, but doors lead into 
each story from the outside ; and ladders stretch from 
iorrace to terrace, leaning against the walls. On the 
tops of some there are poles carrying bannerets. 
These are the residences of the principal war-chiefs 
and great warriors of the nation. 

We can see the temple distinctly. It is like the 
houses in shape, but higher and of larger dimensions. 
There is a tall shaft rising out of its roof, and a banner 
with a strange device floating at its peak. 

Near the houses we see cc/rrah filled with mules and 
mustangs, the live-stock of the village. 

The light grows stronger. Forms appear upon the 
roofs and move along the terraces. They are human 
forms enveloped in hanging garments, robe-like and 
striped. "We recognise the Navajo blanket, with its 
alternate bands of black and white. 

With the glass we can see these forms more dis- 
tinctly ; we can tell their sex. 

Their hair hangs loosely upon their shoulders, and 
far down their backs. Most of them are females,, 
girls and women. There are many children, too. 
There are men white-haired and old. A few other 
men appear, but they are not warriors. The warriors 
are absent. 

They come down the ladders, descending from 
terrace to terrace. They go out upon the plain, and 
rekindle the fires. Some carry earthern vessels, ollas, 
upon their heads, and pass down to the river. They 
go in for water. These are nearly naked. We cao 
see their brown bodies and uncovered breasts. They 
are slaves. 

See ! the old men are climbing to the top of the 



THE NIGHT AMBUSCADE. 291 

temp e. They are followed by women and children, 
some im white, others in bright-coloured costumes. 
These are girls and young lads, the children of the 
chiefs. 

Over a hundred have climbed up. They have 
reached the highest roof. There is an altar near the 
staff. A smoke rolls up — a blaze : they have kindled 
a fire upon the altar. 

Listen ! the chant of voices, and the beat of an 
Indian drum ! 

The sounds cease, and they all stand motionless and 
apparently silent, facing to the east. * 

' What does it mean ?' 

'They are waiting for the sun to appear. These 
people worship him.' 

The hunters, interested and curious, strain their 
eyes, watching the ceremony. 

The topmost pinnacle of the quartz mountain is o n 
fire. It is the first flash of the sun ! 

The peak is yellowing downward. Other points 
catch the brilliant beams. They have struck the 
faces of the devotees. See ! there are white faces ! 
One — two — many white faces, both of women and girls. 

' Oh God ! grant that it may be !' cries Seguin, hur- 
riedly putting up the glass, and raising the bugle to- 
his lips. 

A few wild notes peal over the valley. The horse- 
men hear the signal. They debouch from the woods 
and the defiles of the mountains. They gallop over 
the plain, deploying as they go. 

In a few minutes we have formed the arc of a circle, 
concave to the town. Our horses' heads are turned! 
inwards, and we ride forward, closing upon the walls. 

We have left the atajo in the defile; the captive 
chief, too, guarded by a few of the men. 



292 THE SCALI'-HtTNTERS. 

The notes of the bugle have summoned the attention 
of the inhabitants. They stand for a while in amaze- 
ment, and without motion. They behold the deploy- 
ing of the line. They see the horsemen ride inward. 

Could it be a mock surprise of some friendly tribe ? 
No. That strange voice, the bugle, is new to Indian 
ears ; yet some of them have heard it before. They 
know it to be the war-trumpet of the pale faces ! 

For a while their consternation hinders them from 
action. They stand looking on until we are near. 
Then they behold pale faces, strange armour, and 
horses singularly caparisoned. It is the white enemy ! 

They run from point to point, from street to street. 
Those who cany water dash down their ollas, and 
rush screaming to the houses. They climb to the 
roofs, drawing the ladders after them. Shouts are ex- 
changed, and exclamations uttered in the voices of 
men, women, and children. Terror is on every face ; 
terror displays itself in every movement. 

Meanwhile our line has approached, until we are 
within two hundred yards of the walls. We halt for 
» moment. Twenty men are left as an outer guard. 
The rest of us, thrown into a body, rido forward* 



( 293 > 



CHATTEK XXXIX. 

ADELS. 

We direct ourselves to the great building, and, 
surrounding it, again halt. The old men are still 
upon the roof, standing along the parapet. They are 
frightened, and tremble like children. 

' Do not fear ; we are friends !' cries Seguin, 
speaking in a strange language, and making signs to 
them. 

His voice is not heard amidst the shrieks and 
ehouting that still continue. 

The words are repeated, and the sign given in a 
more emphatic manner. 

The old men crowd along the edge of the parapet. 
There is one among them who differs from the rest. 
His snow-white hair reaches below his waist. There 
are bright ornaments hanging from his ears and over 
his breast. He is attired in white robes. He appears 
to be a chief, for the rest obey him. He makes a 
signal with his hands, and the screaming subsides. 
He stands forward on the parapet, as if to speak to ur. 

'Amigos, amigos!' (friends!) cries he, speaking in 
Spanish. 

' Yes, yes ; we are friends,' replies Seguin, in the 
same language. ' Do not fear us ! "We come not to 
harm you.' 

; Why harm us ? We are at peace with the white 
pueblos to the east. We are the children of Monte- 
zuma ; we are Navajoes. What want you with us ? ' 

' We come for our relatives, your white captives. 
They are ow wives and daughters.' 



294 hie scALi'-aj.vTKUS. 

' White captives ! You mistake us. "We Lave no 
captives. Those you seek are among the nations of 
the Apache, away far to the south.' 

' No ; they are with you,' replies Seguin. ' I hay<e 
certain information that they are here. Delay us not, 
then ! We have come a far journey for them, and will 
not go without them.' 

The old man turns to his companions. They con- 
verse in a low voice, and exchange signs. Again he 
faces round to Seguin. 

'Believe me, seuor chief,' says he, speaking with 
emphasis, ' you have been wrongly informed. We have 
no white captives.' 

' Pish ! 'Ee dod-rotted ole liar !' cries .Rube, pushing 
out of the crowd, and raising his catskin cap as he 
speaks. "Ee know this child, do 'ee?' 

The skinless head is discovered to the gaze of the 
Indians. A murmur, indicative of alarm, is heard 
among them. The white-haired chief seems discon- 
certed. He knows the history of that scalp ! 

A murmur, too, runs through the ranks of tl.e 
hunters. They had seen white faces as they rode up. 
The lie exasperates them, and the ominous click of 
rifles being cocked is heard on all sides. 

' You have spoken falsely, old man,' cries Seguin. 
' We know you have white captives. Bring them 
forth, then, if you would save your own lives !' 

' Quick !' shouts Garey, raising his rifle in a threat- 
ening manner ; ' quick ! or I'll dye the flax on yer old 
ekull.' 

' Patience, amigo ! you shall see our white people ; 
but they are not captives. They are our daughters, 
the children of Montezuma.' 

The Indian descends to the third story of the 
temple. He enters a door and presently returns, 



ADELE. 29£ 

Oringing with him five females dressed in the Navajo 
costume. They are women and girls, and, as any on<) 
could tell at a glance, of the Hispano-Mexican race. 

But there are those present who know them still 
better. Three of them are recognised by as many 
hunters, and recognise them in turn. The girls rush 
out to the parapet, stretch forth their arms, and utter 
exclamations of joy. The hunters call to them : 

' Pepe !' ' Eafacla !' ' Jesusita !' coupling their names 
with expressions of endearment. They shout to them 
to come down, pointing to the ladders. 

' Bajaii, ninas, bajan I aprisa, apris i ." (come down, 
dear girls ! quickly, quickly !) 

The ladders rest upon the upper terraces. The 
girls cannot move them. Their late masters stand 
beside them, frowning and silent. 

' Lay holt thar !' cries Garey, again threatening with 
his piece ; ' lay holt, and help the gals down, or I'll 
fetch some o' yerselves a-tumblin' over !' 

'Lay holt! lay holt!' shouts several others in a 
breath. 

The Indians place the ladders. The girls descend, 
and the next moment leap into the arms of their 
friends. 

Two of them remain above : only three have come 
down. Seguin has dismounted, and passes these three 
with a glance. None of them is the object of his 
solicitude ! 

He rushes up the ladder, followed by several of the 
men. He springs from terrace to terrace, up to the 
third. He presses forward to the spot where stand 
the two captive girls. His looks are wild, and his 
manner that of one frantic. They shrink back at his 
approach, mistaking his intentions. They aiream with 
terror 1 



296 TRE SCALP-HUXTERS. 

IIo pierces them with his look. The instincts ol 
the father are busy : they are baffled. One of the 
females is old, too old; the other is slave-like and 
coarse. 

' Mon Iiieu I it cannot be !' he exclaims with a sigh. 
' There was a mark ; but no, no, no ! it cannot be !' 

He leans forward, seizing the girl, though not un- 
gently, by the wrist. Her sleeve is torn open, and the 
arm laid bare to the shoulder. 

' No, no !' he again exclaims ; ' it is not there. It is 
not she.' 

He turns from them. He rushes forward to the old 
Indian, who falls back frightened at the glare of his 
fiery eye. 

' These are not all !' cries he, in a voice of thunder ; 
* there are others. Bring them forth, old maD, or I 
will hurl you to the earth !' 

'There are no other white squaws,' replies the 
Indian, with a sullen and determined air. 

' A lie ! a lie ! your life shall answer. Here ! con- 
front him, Eube !' 

' 'Ee dratted old skunk ! That white har o' yourn 
ain't a-gwine to stay thur much longer ev you don't 
bring her out. Whur is she ? the young queen ?' 

' Al sur,' and the Indian points to the south. 

' Oh ! mon Dieu ! mon Jjieu ! ' cries Segum, in his 
native tongue, and with an accentuation that ex- 
presses his complete wretchedness. 

' Don't believe him, cap ! I've seed a heap o' Injun 
in my time ; an' a lyiner old varmint than this'n I 
never seed yet. Ye heerd him jest now 'bout the other 
gals ?' 

' Yes, true ; he lied directly : but she — she might 
have gone ' 

' Not a bit o' it. Lyin's his trade. He's thur greai 



ADELE. J291 

medicine, an' humbugs the hul kit o'' them. The gal 
is what they call Mystery Queen. She knows a heap 
an' helps ole whitey hyur in his tricks an' sacrifiches. 
He don't want to lose her. She's hyur somewhur, I'll 
be boun' ; but she ur cached : that's sartin.' 

' Men !' cries Seguin, rushing forward to the para- 
pet, ' take ladders ! Search every house I Bring all 
forth, old and young. Bring them to the open plain. 
Leave not a corner unsearched. Bring me my 
child !' 

The hunters rush for the ladders. They seize those 
of the great building, and soon possess themselves of 
•others. They run from house to house, and drag out 
the soreamiag inmates. 

There are Indian men in some of the houses — lag- 
ging braves, boys, and ' dandies.' Some of these re- 
sist. They are slaughtered, scalped, and flung over 
the parapets. 

Crowds arrive, guarded, in front of the temple : 
girls and women of all ages. 

Seguin's eye is busy; his heart is yearning. At 
the arrival of each new group, he scans their faces. 
In vain ! Many of them are young and pretty, but 
brown as the fallen leaf. She is not yet brought 
up. 

I see the three captive Mexicans standing with 
their friends. They should know where she may bo 
found. 

' Question them,' I whisper to the chief. 

' Ha ! you are right. I did not think of that. Come, 
come !' 

We run together down the ladders, and approach 
the delivered captives. Seguin hurriedly describes 
the object ot his search. 

' It must be the Mystery Queen,' says one. 



298 THE SCALP-HUXTEKS. 

♦Yes, yes!' cries Seguin, in trembling anxiety i 'It 

is ; she is the Mystery Queen.' 

'She is in the town, tJien,' adds another. 

'Where? where?' ejaculates the half-frantic father. 

'Where? where?' echo the girls questioning on© 
juuther. 

' I saw her this morning, a short time ago ; just 
before you came up.' 

' I saw him hurry her off,' adds a second, pointing 
upward to the old Indian. ' He has hidden her.' 

' Caval!' cries another, 'perhaps in the estufa!' 

' The estufa ! what is it ?' 

Where the sacred fire burns ; where Ae makes his 
medicine.' 

' Where is it ? lead me to it !' 

'Ay '.h mi] wo know not the way. It is a secret 
place where they burn people ! Ay de mi!' 

' But, senor, it is in this temple ; somewhere under 
the ground. He knows. None but he is permitted to 
enter it. Carrai! The estufa is a fearful place. So 
say the people.' 

An indefinite idea that his daughter may be in dan- 
ger crosses the mind of Seguin. Perhaps she is dead 
already, or dying by some horrid means. He is struck, 
so are we, with the expression of sullen malice thai 
displays itself upon the countenance of the medicine 
chief. It is altogether an Indian expression : that of 
dogged determination to die rather than yield what he 
has made up his mind to keep. It is a look of 
demoniac cunning, characteristic of men of his pecu- 
liar calling among the tribes. 

Haunted by this thought, Seguin runs to the ladder, 
and again springs upward to the roof, followed by 
several cf the band. He rushes upon the lying priest, 
clutching him by the long hair. 



ADELE. 29S 

' Lead me to her !' he cries, in a voice of thunder ; 
lead me to this queen : this Mystery Queen ! She is 
my daughter.' 1 

w Your daughter! the Mystery Queen !' replies the 
Indian, trembling with fear for his life, yet still resist- 
ing the appeal. ' No, white man ; she is not. The 
queen is ours. She is the daughter of the Sun. She 
is the child of a Navajo chief.' 

' Tempt me no longer, old man ! No longer, I say. 
Look forth ! If a hair of her head has been harmed, 
all these shall suffer. I will not leave a living thing 
in your town. Lead on ! Bring me to the estufa !' 

'To the estufa! to the estufa!' shout several 
voices. 

Strong hands grasp the garments of the Indian, 
and are twined into his loose hair. Knives, already 
red and reeking, are brandished before his eyes. He is 
forced from the roof, and hurried down the ladders. 

He ceases to resist, for he sees that resistance is 
death ; and half dragged, half leading, he conducts 
them to the ground-floor of the building. 

He enters by a passupe covered with the shaggy 
hides of the buffalo. Seguin follows, keeping his eye 
and hand upon him. We crowd after, close upon the 
heels of both. 

We pass through dark ways, descending, as we go, 
through an intricate labyrinth. Wo arrive in a large 
room dimly lighted. Ghastly images are before us 
and around us, the mystic symbols of a horrid religion ! 
The walls are hung with hideous shapes and skins of 
wild beasts. We can see the fierce visages of the 
grizzly bear of the while buffalo, of the carcajou, of 
the panther, and the ravenous wolf. We can recognise 
the horns and frontlets of the elk, the cimmaron, and 
the grim bison. Hero and there are idol figures, of 

d 2 



500 THE SCALP-HUXTEUS. 

grotesque and monster forms, carved from wood and 
the red claystone of the desert. 

A lamp is flickering "with a feeble glare ; and on a 
brazero, near the centre of the room, burns a small 
bluish flame It is the sacred fire ; the fire that for 
centuries has blazed to the god Quetzalcoatl ! 

We do not stay to examine these objects. The 
fames of the charcoal almost suffocate us. We run in 
every direction, overturning the idols and dragging 
down the sacred skins. 

There are huge serpents gliding over the floor, and 
hissing around our feet. They have been disturbed 
and frightened by the unwonted intrusion. We, too, 
are frightened, for we hear the dreaded rattle of the 
crotalus I 

The men leap from the ground, and strike at them 
with the butts of their rifles. They crush many oi 
them on the stone pavement. 

There are shouts and confusion. We suffer from 
the exhalations of the charcoal. We shall be stifled. 
Where is Seguin? Where has he gone ? 

Hark ! There are screams ! It is a female voice ! 
There are voices of men, too ! 

We rush towards the spot where they are heard. 
We dash aside the walls of pendant skins. We see 
the chief. He has a female in his arms : a girl, a 
beautiful girl, robed in gold and bright plumes. 

She is screaming as we enter, and struggling to 
escape him. He holds her firmly, and has torn upon 
the fawn-skin sleeve of her tunic. He is gazing on 
her left arm, which is bared to the bosom ! 

' It is she ! it is she !' he cries in a voice trembling 
with emotion. ' Oh God ! it is she ! Adele ! Adele . 
do you not know me ? Me ■ your father ?' 

Her screams continue. She pushes him off, stretch- 



ADELE. JJUi 

fng out her arms to the Indian, and calling upon him 
to protect her ! 

The father entreats her n wild and pathetic words. 
She heeds him not. She turns her face from him, and 
crouches down, hugging the knees of the priest ! 

' She knows me not ! Oh God 1 my child ! my 
child!' 

Again Seguin speaks in the Indian tongue, and with 
imploring accents — 

' Adele ! Adele ! / am your father J' 

' You ! Who are you ? The white men ; our foes I 
Touch me not ! Away, white men ! away !' 

' Dear, dearest Adele ! do not repel me : me, your 
father ! You remember ' 

' My father ! My father was a great chief. He is 
dead. This is my father now. The Sun is my father. 
I am a daughter of Montezuma ! I am a queen of the 
Navajoes !' 

As she ntters these words, a change seems to come 
over her spirit. She crouches no longer. She rises 
to her feet. Her screaming has ended, and she stands 
in an attitude of pride and indignation. 

'Oh Adele!' continues Seguin, more earnest than 
ever, 'look at me! look! Do you not remember? 
Look in my face ! Oh heaven ! Here, see ! Here is 
your mother, Adele ! See ! this is her picture ; your 
angel mother. Look at it ! Look, oh, Adele !' 

Seguin, while he is speaking, draws a miniature 
from his bosom, and holds it before the eyes of the 
girl. It arrests her attention. She looks upon it, 
but without any signs of recognition. It is to her 
enly a curious object. 

She seems struck with his manner, frantic but en- 
treating-. She seems to regard him with wonder 
Still she repels him. It is evident she knows him not. 



302 THE SCALr-HUNTERS. 

She has lost every recollection of him and his. She 
has foigotten the language of her childhood ; she has 
forgotten her father, her mother : she has forgotten all! 

I could not restrain my tears as I looked upon the 
face of my friend, for I had grown to consider him 
such. Like one who has received a mortal wound> 
yet still lives, he stood in the centre of the group, 
silent and crushed. His head had fallen upon hie 
breast, his cheek was blanched and bloodless ; and his 
eye wandered with an expression of imbecility pain- 
ful to behold. I could imagine the terrible conflict 
that was raging within. 

He made no further efforts to entreat the girl. He 
no longer offered to approach her ; but stood for some 
moments in the same attitude without speaking a 
word. 

' Bring her way !' he muttered, at length, in a voice 
husky and broken ; ' bring her away ! Perhaps, in 
God's mercy, she may yet remember.' 



CHAPTEE XL. 



THE WHITE SCALP. 



We repassed the horrid chamber, and emerged upon 
the lowermost terrace of the temple. 

As I walked forward to the parapet, there was a 
scene below that filled me with apprehension. A 
cloud seemed to fall over my heart. 

The impression was sudden, and, at the moment, 
indefinite as to its cause. Was it the sight (for 1 saw 
it) of blood ? No. It could not be that. Blood had 
been before my eyes too often of late, and I had 



THE \VHITE SCALr. 303 

occome accustomed to its wanton shedding. It may 
have been partially the cause ; but there were other 
eights and sounds, hardly affecting the eye and ear, 
yet sufficiently definite to impress my mind with fear 
and foreboding. There was a bad electricity in the air 
— not the natural, but the moral atmosphere — that 
reached me through those mysterious channels not 
yet traced by philosophy. Look back upon your 
experience. Have you not often felt sensible that 
wrath or other bad passions existed in the minds of 
men before you could perceive it by any definite look, 
word, or action ? 

As the wild animal foretels the hurricane when the 
atmosphere is tranquil, I instinctively felt that a dark 
scene was approaching. 

Perhaps I drew my omens from the very tranquillity 
that reigned around. In the moral as in the physical 
world there is a stillness that proceeds the storm. 

In front of the temple were the women of the 
village ; girls, women, and children ; in all about two 
hundred. They were variously attired : some were 
wrapped in their striped blankets ; some wore tilmns, 
and tunics of embroidered fawnskin, plumed and 
painted with dyes of vivid colour ; some were dressed 
in the garb of civilized life : in rich satins, that had 
been worn by the dames of the Del Norte ; in flounces 
that had fluttered in the dance around the ankles of 
some gay inaja! 

Not a few in the crowd were entirely nude, without 
even the shielding of the fig-leaf. 

They were all Indians, but of lighter and darker 
shades ; differing in colour as in expression of face. 
Some were old, wrinkled, and coarse ; but there were 
many of them young, noble-like, and altogether 
beautiful. 



304 THK SCALP-HUNTERS. 

They were grouped together in various attitudes 
They had ceased their screaming, but murmured 
among themselves in low and plaintive exclamations. 
As I looked, I saw blood running from their ears! 
It had dappled their throats and spurted over their 
garments. 

A glance satisfied me as to the cause of this. They 
had been rudely robbed of their golden hangings. 

Near and around them stood the scalp-hunters, in 
groups and afoot. They were talking in whispers and 
low mutterings. There were objects about their 
persons that attracted my eye. Curious articles of 
ornament or use peeped out from their pouches and 
haversacks ; bead-strings and pieces of shining metal 
— gold it was — hung around their necks and over 
their breasts. These were the plundered bijouterie or 
the savage maidens. 

There were other objects upon which my eye rested 
with feelings of deeper pain. Stuck behind the belts 
of many were scalps, fresh and reeking. Their knife- 
hilts and fingers were red ; there was blood upon their 
hands ; there was gloom in their glances. 

The picture was appalling ; and, adding to its awful 
impression, black clouds were at the moment rolling 
over the valley, and swathing the mountains in their 
opaque masses. The lightning jetted from peak to 
peak, followed by short claps of close and deafening 
thunder. 

' Bring up the atajo !' shouted Seguin, as he de- 
ecended the ladder 'with his daughter. 

A signal was given ; and shortly after the mules, 
in charge of the arrieros, came stringing across the 
plain. 

' Collect all the dry meat that can be found. Let ift 
be packed as speedily as possible.' 



THE WHITE SCALP. 305 

In front of most of the Louses there were strings of 
tasajo hanging against the walls. There were also 
dried fruits and vegetables, chile, roots of the kamas, 
and skin-bags filled with pifions and choke-berries. 

The meat was soon brought together, and several 
of the men assisted the arrieros in packing it. 

' There will be barely enough,' said Seguin. ' Here» 
Eube,' continued he, calling to the old trapper ; ' pick 
out your prisoners. Twenty will be as many as we 
can take. You know them : choose those most likely 
tu tempt an exchange.' 

So saying, the chief turned off towards the atajo, 
leading his daughter with the intention of mounting 
her on one of the mules. 

Eube proceeded to obey the orders given him. In 
a short time he had collected a number of unresisting 
captives, and had put them aside from the rest. They 
were principally girls and young lads, whose dress 
and features bespoke them of the noblesse of the nation, 
the children of chiefs and warriors. 

This movement was not regarded in silence. The 
men had drawn together, and commenced talking in 
loud and mutinous language. 

'Wagh!' exclaimed Kirker, a fellow of brutal 
aspect ; ' thar are wives a-piece, boys : why not every 
man help himself? Why not ?' 

'Kirker's right,' rejoined another; 'and I've made 
up my mind to have one, or bust.' 

' But how are ye goin' to feed 'em on the road ? 
We ha'n't meat if we take one a-piece.' 

' Meat be hanged !' ejaculated the second speaker ; 
"we kin reach the Del Nort in four days or les3 
What do we want w ith so much meat ?' 

' There's meat a plenty,' rejoined Kirker. ' That's 
all the cartain's palaver. If it runs out we kin drop 



306 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

the weeinen, and take -what o' them's handiest t« 
carry.' 

This was said with a significant gesture, and a 
ferocity of expression revolting to behold. 

' Now, boys ! what say ye ?' 

' I freeze to Barker.' 

'And I.' 

' And I.' 

' I'm not goin 1 to advise anybody,' added the brute. 
Ye may all do as ye please about it ; but this 
niggur's not a goin' to starve in the midst o' plenty.' 

' Eight, comrade ! right, I say.' 

'Wal. First spoke first pick, I reckin. That's 
mountain law ; so, old gal, I cottons to you. Come 
along, will yer ?' 

Saying this, he seized one of the Indians, a large, 
fine-looking woman, roughly by the wrist, and com- 
menced dragging her toward the atajo. 

The woman screamed and resisted, frightened, not 
at what had been said, for she did not understand it, 
but terrified by the ruffian expression that was plainly 
legible in the countenance of the man. 

' Shut up yer meat-trap, will ye ?' cried he, still 
pulling her towards the mules : ' I'm not goin to eat 
ye. Wagh ! Don't be so skeert. Come ! mount hyar. 
Gee yup !' 

And with this exclamation he lifted the woman 
upon one of the mules. 

' If ye don't sit still, I'll tie ye : mind that ?' and 
he held up the lasso, making signs of his determi- 
nation. 

A horrid scene now ensued. 

A number of the scalp-hunters followed the example 
of their ruffian comrade. Each one chose the girl or 
woman he had fancied, and commenced hurrying her 



THE WHITi. SCALI'. 307 

off to the atajo. The women shrieked. The men 
-shouted and swore. Several scrambled for the same 
prize : a girl more beautiful than her companions. A 
quarrel was the consequence. Oaths and ejaculations 
rang out ; knives were drawn and pistols cocked. 

' Toss up for her !' cried one. 

' Ay, that's fair : toss up ! toss up !' shouted se- 
veral. 

The hint was adopted ; the lots were east; and the 
savage belle became the property of the winner. 

In the space of a few minutes nearly every mule in 
the atajo carried an Indian damsel. 

Some of the hunters had taken no part in this 
Sabine proceeding. Some disapproved of it (for all 
were not bad) from motives of humanity. Others did 
not care for being 'hampered with a squaw,' but 
etood apart, savagely laughing at the scene. 

During all this time Seguin was on the other side of 
the building with his daughter. He had mounted her 
upon one of the mules, and covered her shoulders with 
his serape. He was making such preparations for her 
journey as the tender solicitudes of the father sug- 
gested. 

The noise at length attracted him ; and, leaving her 
in charge of his servants, ho hurried round to the 
front. 

'Comrades!' cried he, glancing at the mounted 
captives, and comprehending all that had occurred, 
' there are too many here. Are these whom you have 
chosen?' This question was directed to the trapper 
Eube. 

' No,' replied the latter, ' them's 'cm,' and he 
pointed to the party he had picked out. 

' Dismount these, then, and place those you have 
selected upon the mules. "We have a desert to cross, 



308 THE SCALl'-HUSTKRS 

and it 'will be as much as we can do to pass it with 
that number.' 

And without appearing to notice the scowling looks 
of his followers, he proceeded, in company with Eube 
and several others, to execute the command he had 
given. 

The indignation of the hunters now showed itself in 
open mutiny. Fierce looks were exchanged, audi 
threats uttered aloud. 

' By heaven !' cried one, ' I'll have my gal along, or 
her scalp.' 

' VayaV exclaimed another in Spanish ; 'whytako 
any of them ? They're not worth the trouble, after all. 
There's not one of them worth the price of her own hair.' 

' Take the har then, and leave the niggurs !' sug- 
gested a third. 

' I say so too.' 

' And I.' 

' I vote with you, boss.' 

' Comrades !' said Seguin, turning to the mutineers, 
and speaking in a tone of extreme mildness, ' remember 
your promise. Count the prisoners, as we agreed. I 
will answer for the payment of all.' 

' Can ye pay for them now ?' asked a voice. 

' Tou know that that would be impossible.' 

'Pay for them now! Fay for them now !' shouted 
several. 

' Cash or scalps, say I.' 

' Carajo I where is the captain to get the money 
when we reach El Paso more than here ? He's neither 
a Jew nor a banker ; and it's news to me if he'» 
grown so rich. Where, then, is all this money to 
come from f" 

' Not from the Cabildo, unless the scalps are forth- 
coming ; I'll warrant that.' 



THE WHITE SCALP. 309 

' True, Jose ! They'll give no money to him, more 
Jian to us ; and we can get it ourselves if we show 
the skins for it. That we can.' 

' Wagh ! what cares he for us now that he has got 
what he waDted?' 

' Not a niggur's d n. He wouldn't let us go by 

•the Prieto, when we kud 'a gathered the shining stuff 
in chunks.' 

'Now he wants us to throw away this chance too. 
We'd be green fools to do it, I say.' 

It struck me at this moment that I might interfere 
with success. Money seemed to be what the mutineers 
wanted ; at least it was their alleged grievance ; and 
rather than witness the fearful drama which appeared 
to be on the eve of enactment, I would have sacrificed 
imy fortune. 

' Men !' cried I, speaking so that I could be heard 
above the din, ' if you deem my word worth listening 
to, it is this : I have sent a cargo to Chihuahua with 
the last caravan. By the time we can get back to El 
Paso the traders will have returned, and I shall be 
placed in possession of funds double what you demand. 
If you will accept my promise, I shall see that you be 
paid.' 

' Wagh ! that talk's all very well, but what do we 
know of you or yer cargo ?' 

' Vayal A bird in the hand's worth two in the 
bush.' 

' He's a trader. Who's goin' to take his word ?' 

' Eot his cargo ! Scalps or cash, cash or scalps ! 
that's this niggur's advice ; an' if ye dont take it, 
boys, ye may leave it ; but it's all the pay ye'll ever 
crook yer claws on.' 

The men had tasted blood, and like the tiger, they 
thirsted for more. There were glaring eyes on all 



310 THE SCALr-HraTEES. 

6ides, and the countenances of some exhibited an 
animal ferociousness hideous to look upon. The half- 
robber discipline that hitherto ruled in the band 
seemed to have completely departed, and the authority 
of the chief to be set at defiance. 

On the other side stood the females, clinging and 
huddling together. They could not understand the 
mutinous language, but they saw threatening attitudes 
and angry faces. They saw knives drawn, and heard 
the cocking of guns and pistols. They knew there wan 
danger, and they crouched together whimpering with 
fear. 

Up to this moment, Seguin had stood giving direc- 
tions for the mounting of his captives. His manner 
was strangely abstracted, as it had been ever since 
the scene of meeting with his daughter. That greater 
care, gnawing at his heart, seemed to render him 
insensible to what was passing. He was not so. 

As Kirker ended (for he was the last speaker) a 
change came over Seguin's manner, quick as a flash of 
lightning. Suddenly rousing himself from his attitude 
of indifference, he stepped forward in front of the 
mutineers. 

' Dare !' shouted he, in a voice of thunder — ' dare 
to dishonour your oaths ! By heavens ! the first mac 
who raises knife or rifle shall die on the instant !' 

There was a pause, and a moment of deep silence. 

' I had made a vow,' continued he, ' that should it 
please God to restore me my child, this hand should 
be stained with no more blood. Let any man force 
me to break that vow, and by heaven his blood shall 
be the first to stain it !' 

A vengeful murmur ran through the crowd, but no 
one replied. 

'You are but a cowardly brute, with all your 



THE WHITE SCALP. 61 1 

bluster,' he continued, turning round to Kirker, and 
looking him in the eye. ' Up with that knife ! quick ! 
or by the God of heaven I will send this bullet through 
your ruffian heart!' 

Seguin had drawn his pistol, and stood in an. 
attitude that told he would execute the threat. His 
form seemed to have grown larger ; his eye dilated, 
flashing as it rolled, and the man shrank before its 
glance. He saw death in it if he disobeyed, and with 
a surly murmur he fumbled mechanically at his belt, 
and thrust the blade back into its sheath. 

But the mutiny was not yet quelled. These were 
men not so easily conquered. Fierce exclamations 
still continued, and the mutineers again began to en- 
courage one another with shouts. 

I had thrown myself alongside the chief, with my 
revolvers cocked and ready, resolved to stand by him 
to the death. Several others had done the same ; 
among whom were Eube, Garey, Sanchez the bull- 
fighter, and the Maricopa. 

The opposing parties were nearly equal, and a 
fearful conflict would have followed had we fought ; 
but at this moment an object appeared that stifled the 
resentment of all. It was the common enemy ! 

Away on the western border of the valley we could 
eee dark objects, hundreds of them, coming over the 
plain. They were still at a great distance, but the 
practised eyes of the hunters knew them at a glance. 
They were horsemen ; they were Indians ; they were 
our pursuers ; the Navajoes ! 

They were riding at full gallop, and strung over the 
prairie like hounds upon a run. In a twinkling they 
would be on us. 

' Yonder!' cried Seguin, 'yonder are scalps enough 
.jo satisfy you ; but let us see to our own. Come ' to 



SI 2 THE SCALP-HUXTEES. 

your horses! On -with the atajo! I will keep my 
word with you at the pass. Mount ! niy brave fel- 
lows, mount !' 

The last speech was uttered in a tone of recon- 
ciliation ; but it needed not that to quicken the move- 
ments of the hunters. They knew too well their own 
danger. They could have sustained the attack among 
the houses, but it would only have been until the 
return of the main tribe, when they knew that every 
life would be taken. To make a stand at the town 
would be madness, and was not thought of. In a 
moment we were in our saddles ; and the atajo, 
6trung out with the captives and provisions, was 
hurrying off toward the woods. We purposed passing 
the defile that opened eastward, as our retreat by 
the other route was now cut off by the advancing 
horsemen. 

Seguin had thrown himself at the head, leading the 
mule upon which his daughter was mounted. The 
rest followed, straggling over the plain without rank 
or order. 

I was among the last to leave the town. I had lin- 
gered behind purposely, fearing some outrage, and de- 
termined, if possible, to prevent it. 

* At length,' thought 1, ' they have all gone ;' and, 
putting spurs to my horse, I galloped after. 

When I had ridden about a hundred yards from the 
walls, a loud yell rang behind me ; and, reining in my 
horse, I turned in the saddle and looked back. 
Another yell, wild and savage, directed me to the 
point whence the former had come. 

On the highest roof of the temple two men were 
struggling. I knew them at a glance ; and I knew, 
*oo, it was a de-ith-st niggle. One was the medicine 
chie' as I could tell by the flowing white hair. The 



i hi' \v: i ;•".■-: scai.i*. 31$ 

skirt and leggings, tiie naked ankles, the close- 
fitting skull-cap, enabled me easily to distinguish his 
antagonist. It was the earless trapper! 

The conflict was a short one. I had not seen the 
beginning of it, but 1 soon witnessed the denouement. 
As I turned, the trapper had forced his adverary 
against the parapet, and with his long muscular arm 
was bending him over its edge. In the other hand, 
uplifted, he brandished his knife ! 

I saw a quick flash as the blade was plunged ; a red 
gush spurted over the garments of the Indian ; his 
arms dropped, his body doubled over the wall, ba- 
lanced a moment, and then fell with a dull sodden 
sound upon the terrace below ! 

The same wild whoop again rang in my ears, and 
the hunter disappeared from the roof. 

I turned to ride on. I knew it was the settling of 
some old account : the winding up of some terribl© 
revenge. 

The clattering of hoofs sounded behind me, and a 
horseman rode up alongside. I know, without turning 
my head that it was the trapper. 

' Fair swop, they say, ain't no stealin'. Putty har 
too it ur. "Wagh ! It won't neyther match nor patch 
mine ; but it makes one's feelin's easier.' 

Puzzled at this speech, I turned to ascertain its 
meaning. I was answered by the sight that met my 
eye. An object was hanging from the old man's belt, 
like a streak of snow-white flax. But it was not that. 
Tt was hair. It ivas a scalp ! 

There were drops of blood struggling down the 
efvery strands as they shook, and across them, near 
toe middle, was a broad red band. It was the track 
of the trapper's knife where he har" -;q:ed it I 



( 314 i 



CHAPTER XLI. 



THE FIGHT IK THE PASS. 



We entered the -woods, and followed the Indian traO 
np stream. We hurried forward as fast as the atajo 
could be driven. A scramble of five miles brought us 
to the eastern cud of the valley. Here the sierras 
impinged upon the river, forming a cation. It was a 
grim gap, similar to that we had passed on entering 
from the west, but still more fearful in its features. 
Unlike the former, there was no road over the moun- 
tains on either side. The valley was headed in by 
precipitous cliffs, and the trail lay through the canon, 
up the bed of the stream. The latter was shallow. 
During freshets it became a torrent ; and then the 
valley was inaccessible from the east, but that was a 
lare occurrence in these rainless regions. 

"We entered the caflon without halting, and galloped 
over the detritus, and round huge boulders that lay in 
its bed. Far above us rose the frowning cliffs, thou- 
sands of feet overhead. Great rocks scarped out, 
abutting over the stream; shaggy pines hung top 
downward, clinging in their seams ; shapeless bunches 
of cacti and mezcals crawled along the cliffs : their 
picturesque but gloomy foliage adding to the wildness 
of the scene. 

It was dark within the pass, from the shadow of the 
jutting masses ; but now darker than usual, for black 
storm-clouds were swathing the cliffs overhead. 
Through these, at short intervals, the lightning forked 
and flashed, glancing in the water at our feet. The 



T1IK FIGHT IN THE PASS. Old 

thunder, in quick, sharp Dercussions, broke over the 
ravine ; Lut as yet it rained not. 

"We plunged hurriedly through the shallow stream, 
following the guide. There were places not without 
danger, where the water swept around angles of the 
cliff, with an impetuosity that almost lifted our horses 
from their feet ; but we had no choice, and we scram- 
bled on, urging our animals with voice and spur. 

After riding for a distance of several hundred yards, 
we reached the head of the caP.on and climbed out on 
the bank. 

' Now, cap'n,' cried the guide, reining up, and point- 
ing to the entrance, ' hyur's yur place to make stand. 
We kin keep them back till thur sick i' the guts ; that's 
what we kin do.' 

' You are sure there is no pass that leads out but 
this one ?' 

' Ne'er a crack that a cat kud get out at ; that ur, 
'ceptin' they go back by the other eenci ■. an' that'll 
take them a roundabout o' two days, I reckin.' 

' We will defend this, then. Dismount, men ! Throw 
yourselves behind the rocks !' 

' If 'ee take my advice, cap, I'd let the mules and 
weemen keep for'ard, with a lot o' the men to look 
arter 'em ; them that's ridin' the meanest critters. 
It'll bo nose an tail when we do go ; and if they starts 
ro-y, yur see we kin easy catch up with 'cm t'othei 
side o' the parairar.' 

' You are right, Bube ! We cannot stay long hero, 
Our provisions will give out. They must move ahead. 
Ts that mountain near the lino of our course, think 
you?' 

As Seguin spoke, he pointed to a snow-crowned 
peak that towered over the plain, far off to the cas*- 
ward 



SI 6 THE SCALF-HUXTEIIS. 

' The trail we oughter take for the ole mine passe* 
clost by it, cap'n. To the south'art o' yon snowy, 
thur's a pass ; it's the way I got clur myself.' 

' Tery well ; the party can take the mountain for 
their guide. I will despatch them at once ' 

About twenty men, ■who rode the poorest horses, 
were selected from the band. These, guarding the 
atajo and captives, immediately set out and rode off 
in the direction of the snowy mountain. El Sol went 
with this party, in charge of Dacoma and the daughter 
of our chief. The rest of us prepared to defend the 
pass. 

Our horses were tied in a defile ; and we took our 
stands where we could command the embouchure of 
the canon with our rifles. 

"We waited in silence for the approaching foe. As 
yet no war-whoop had reached us ; but we knew 
that our pursuers could not be far off ; and we knelt 
behind the rocks, straining our eyes down the dark 
ravine. 

It is difficult to give an idea of our position by the 
pen. The ground we had selected as the point of 
defence was unique in its formation, and not easily 
described ; yet it is necessary you should know some- 
thing of its peculiar character in order to comprehend 
what followed. 

The stream, after meandering over a shallow, 
shingly channel, entered the canon through a vast 
gate-like gap, between two giant portals. One of these 
was the abrupt ending of the granite ridge, the other a 
detached mass of stratified rock. Below this gate the 
channel widened for a hundred yards or so, where its 
bed was covered with loose boulders and logs of drift 
timbei. Still farther down the cliffs approached each 
other, so near that only two horsemen could ride 



THE FIGHT IN THE PASS. 317 

oetween tliem abreast ; and beyind tbis the channel 
again widened, and the bed of the stream was filled 
with rocks : huge fragments that had fallen from the 
mountain. 

The place we occupied was among \L C : recks and 
drift, within the canon, and below the great gap which 
formed its mouth. "We had chosen the position from 
.necessity, as at this point the bank shelved out and 
offered a way to the open country, by which our 
pursuers could outflank us, should we allow them to 
get so far up. It was necessary, therefore, to prevent 
this ; and we placed ourselves (o defend the lower or 
second narrowing of the channel. We knew that 
below that point beetling cliffs walled in the stream 
on both sides, so that it would be impossible for them 
to ascend out of its bed. If we could restrain them 
from making a rush at the shelving bank, we would 
have them penned up from any farther advance. 
They could only flank our position by returning to 
the valley, and going about by the western end, a 
distance of fifty miles at the least. At all events, we 
should hold them in check until the atajo had got a 
long start ; and then, trusting to our horses, we in- 
tended to follow it in the night. We knew that in 
the end we should have to abandon the lefence, as the 
want of provisions would not allow us to hold out for 
any length of time. 

At the command of our leader we had thrown 
selves among the rocks. The thunder was now peal- 
ing over otu" heads, and reverberating through the 
canon. Black clouds rolled along the cliffs, split and 
torn by brilliant jets. Big drops, still falling thinly> 
slapped down upon the stones. 

As Seguin had told me, rain, thunder, and lightning 
ire rare phenomena in these regions ; but when they 



318 THE SCALr-HUXTETIS. 

do occur, it is with that violence which characterises 
the storms of the tropics. The elements, escaping 
from their wonted continence, rage in fiercer war. 
The long-gathering electricity, suddenly displaced 
from its equilibrium, seems to revel in havoc, rending 
asunder the harmonies of nature. 

The eye of the geognosist, in scanning the features 
of this plateau land, could not be mistaken in the cha- 
racter of its atmosphere. The diead canons, the deep 
b uraiicas, the broken banks of streams, and the clay- 
cut channels of the arroyos, all testified that we were 
in a land of sudden floods. 

Away to the east, towards the head waters of tho 
river, wo could see that the storm was raging in its 
full fuiy. The mountains in that direction were no 
longer visible. Thick rain-clouds were descending 
upon them, and we could hear the 'sough' of tho 
falling water. "We knew that it would soon be upon 
lis. 

' What's keepin' them anyhow ?' inquired a voice. 

Our pursuers had time to have been up. The delay 
was unexpected. 

The Lord only knows !' answered another. ' I 
s'pose thar puttin' on afresh coat o' paint at the town.' 

' They'll get Ihcir paint washed off, I reckin. Look 
to yer primin', bosses ! that's my advice.' 

' By gosh ! its a-goin to come down in spouts.' 

' That's the game, boyees ! hooray for that !' cried 
old Rube. 

'Why? Do you want to git soaked, old case?' 

' That's adzactly what this child wants.' 

' Well, it's more 'n I do. I'd like to know what ye 
want to git wet for. Do ye wish to put your old car- 
case into an agey ?' 

'Tf it rains two hours, do 'ee see, continued Iitibe, 



THE FIGHT IX ITti: TASS. 31d 

without paying attention to the last interrogatory, 
' we needn't stay hyur, do 'ee see ?' 

' Why not, Eube ?' inquired Seguin, with interest. 

' Why, cap,' replied the guide, ' I've seed a skift 
o' a shower make this hyur crik that 'ee wndn't care 
to wade it. Hooray ! it ur a-comin', sure enuf ! 
Hooray !' 

As the trapper uttered these exclamations, a vast 
black cloud came rolling down from the east, until its 
giant wings canopied the defile. It was filled with 
rumbling thunder, breaking at intervals into louder 
percussions, as the red boll's passed hissing through it. 
From this cloud the rain fell, not in drops, but, as the 
hunter had predicted, in ' spouts.' 

The men, hastily throwing the skirts of their hunt- 
ing-shirts over their gun-locks, remained silent under 
the pelting of the storm. 

Another sound, heard between the peals, now 
called our attention. It resembled the continuous 
noise of a train of waggons passing along a gravelly 
road. It was the sound of hoof-strokes on the shingly 
bed of the canon. It was the horse-tread of the ap- 
proaching Navajoes ! 

Suddenly it ceased. They had halted. For what 
purpose? Perhaps to reconnoitre. 

This conjecture proved to be correct ; for m a few- 
moments a small red object appeared over a distant 
rock. It was the forehead of an Indian, with its ver- 
milion paint. It was too distant for the range of a 
rifle, and the hunters watched it without moving. 

Soon another appeared, and another, and then a 
number of dark forms were seen lurking from rock 
to rock, as they advanced up the caf.on. Our pur- 
suers had dismounted, and were approaching us on 
c oot. 



20 tiuc suAU-iiL-ix"": - :.]'..^. 

Our faces were concealed by the ' wrack ' thai 
covered the stones; and the Indians had not yet dis- 
covered us. They were evidently in doubt as to 
whether we had gone on, and this was their vanguard 
making the necessary reconnaissance. 

In a short time the foremost, by starts and runs, 
nad got close up to the narrow part of the cafion. 
There was a boulder below this point, and the upper 
part of the Indian's head showed itself for an instant 
over the rock. At the same instant half-a-dozen rifles 
cracked ; the head disappeared ; and, the moment 
after, an object was seen down upon the pebbles, at 
the base of the boulder. It was the brown arm of 
the savage, lying palm upward. AVe knew that the 
leaden messengers had done their work. 

The pursuers, though at the expense of one of their 
number, had now ascertained the fact of our presence 
as well as our position ; and the advanced party were 
seen retreating as they had approached. 

The men who had fired reloaded their pieces, and, 
kneeling down as before, watched with sharp eyes and 
cocked rifles. 

It was a long time before we heard anything more 
of the enemy ; but we knew that they were delibe- 
rating on some plan of attack. 

There was but one way by which they could defeat 
us : by charging up the cafion, and fighting us hand- 
to-hand. By an at tack of this kind their main loss 
would be in the first volley. They might ride upon 
us before we could reload ; and, far outnumbering 
us, would soon decide the day with their long lances. 
We knew all this ; but we knew, too, that a first 
volley, when well delivered, invariably staggers an 
Indian charge, and we relied on such a hope for our 
safety. 



THE FIGHT IX THE PASS. 31!I 

We bad arranged to fire by platoons, and thus have 
the advantage of a second discharge, should the Indians 
not retreat at the first. 

For nearly an hour the hunters crouched under the 
drenching rain, looking only to keep dry the locks of 
their pieces. The water, in muddy rivulets, began to 
trickle through the shingle, and, eddying around the 
rocks, covered the wide channel in which we now 
etood, ankle-deep. Both above and below us, the 
stream, gathered up by the narrowing of the channel, 
was running with considerable velocity. 

The sun had set, at least it seemed so, in the dismal 
ravine where we were. We were growing impatient 
for the appearance of our enemy 

'Perhaps they have gone round,' suggested one. 

' No ; thar a-waitin' till night. They'll try it then.' 

'Let 'em wait, then,' muttered l?ube, ' ef thur green 
enuf. A half-an-hour more '11 do ; or this child don't 
understan' weather signs.' 

' Hist ! hist !' cried several voices together. ' See ; 
they are coming !' 

All eyes were bent down the pass. A crowd of 
dark objects appeared in the distance, filling up the 
bed of the stream. They were the Indians, and on 
iiorseback. We knew from this that they were about 
to make a dash. Their movements too confirmed it. 
They had formed two-deep, and held their bows 
ready to deliver a flight of arrows as they galloped 
up. 

'Look out, boyees !' cried Rube; 'thur a-comin 
now in airnest. Look to yur sights, and give 'em 
gos ; do 'ee hear ?' 

As the trapper spoke, two hundred voices broke 
into a simultaneous yell. It was the war-cry of the 
Na.va.joes ! 



6T& THE SCALP-IIU.NTEE3. 

As its vengeful notes rang upon the cafion, tliey 
were answered by loud cheers from the hunters, 
mingled with the wild whoops of their Delaware and 
Shawano allies. 

The Indians halted for a moment beyond the nar- 
rowing of the eaf.on, until those who were rearmost 
Bhould close up. Then, uttering another cry, they 
dashed forward into the gap. 

So sudden wa« their charge that several of them had 
got fairly through before a shot was fired. Then came 
the reports of the guns: the 'crack — crack — crack' 
of rifles ; the louder detonations of the Spanish pieces, 
mingled with the whizzing sound of Indian arrows. 
Shouts of encouragement and defiance were given on, 
both sides ; and groans were heard, as the grooved 
bullet or tne poisoned barb tore up the yielding flesh. 

Several of the Indians had fallen at the first volley. 
A number had ridden forward to the spot of our 
ambush, and fired their arrows in our faces. But our 
rifles had not all been emptied ; and these daring 
savages were seen to drop from their saddles at the 
straggling and successive reports. 

The main body wheeled behind the rocks, and were 
now forming for a second charge. This was the 
moment of danger. Our guns were idle, and wo 
could not prevent them from passing the gap, and 
getting through to the open country. 

I saw Seguin draw his pistol, and rush forward, 
calling upon those who were similarly armed to 
'bllow his example. "Wo lan after our leader down. 
to the very jaws of the cafion, and stood waiting the 
charge. 

It was soon to come ; for the enemy, exasperated 
hy many circumstances, were determined on our de- 
struction, cost what it might. Again we heard their 



the fight in Tin; pass. 323 

dercc war-cry, and amidst its "wild echoes the savages 
came galloping- into the gap. 

' Xow's yur time,' cried a voice ; 'fire! Hooray.'' 

The cracks of fifty pistols were almost simultaneous. 
The foremost horses reared up and fell back, kicking 
and sprawling in the gap. They fell, as it were, in a 
body, completely choking up the channel. Those who 
came on behind urged their animals forward. Some 
stumbled on the heap of fallen bodies. Their horses 
rose and fell again, trampling both dead and living 
among their feet. Some struggled over and fought 
us with their lances. "We struck back with our 
clubbed guns, and closed upon them with our knives 
and tomahawks. 

The stream rose and foamed against the rocks, pent 
back by the prostrate animals. AVe fought thigh- 
deep in the gathering flood. The thunder roared 
over-head, and the lightning flashed in our faces, as 
though the elements took part in the conflict ! 

The yelling continued wild and vengeful as ever. 
The lnmters answered it with fierce shouts. Oaths 
flew from foaming lips, and men grappled in the 
embrace that ended only in death ! 

And now the water, gathered into a deep dam, lifted 
the bo lies of the animals that had hitherto obstructed 
it, and swept them out of the gap. The whole force- 
of the enemy would be upon us. Good heavens ! they 
are crowding up, and our guns are empty ! 

At this .-floment a new sound echoed in our ears- 
It was not the shouts of men, nor the detonation oi 
guns, nor the pealing of the thunder. It was the 
hoarse roar in y of the torrent! 

A warning cry was heard behind us. A voice- 
called out, " Run for your lives ! To the bank ! to the 
bank!' 



S24 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

T turned, atd beheld my companions rushing for tha 
slope, tittering words of terror and caution. At the 
same instant my eye became fixed upon an approach- 
ing object. Xot twenty yards above where I stood, 
and just entering the ea~on, came a brown and foam- 
ing mass. It was water, bearing on its crested front 
huge logs of drift and the torn branches of trees. It 
seemed as though tne sluice of some great dam had 
been suddenly carried away, and this was the first 
gush of the escaping flood ! 

As I looked it struck the portals of the canon with 
a concussion like thunder ; and then, rearing back, 
piled up to a height of twenty feet. The next moment 
it came surging through the gap. 

I heard their terrified cry as the Indians wheeled 
their horses and fled. I ran for the bank, following 
my companions. I was impeded by the water, which 
already reached to my thighs ; but with desperate 
energy I plunged and weltered though it, till I had 
gained a point of safety. 

I had hardly climbed out when the torrent rolled 
past with a hissing, seething sound. I stood to 
observe it. From where I was I could see down the 
ravine for a long reach. The Indians were already 
in full gallop, and I saw the tails of their hindmost 
horses just disappearing round the rocks. 

The bodies of the dead and wounded were still lying 
in the channel. There were hunters as well as Indians. 
The wounded screamed as they saw the coming flood. 
Those who had been our comrades called to us for 
nelp ; we could do nothing to save them. Their cries 
had hardly reached us when they were lifted upon 
the crest of the whirling current, like so many feathers, 
and carried off with the velocity of projectiles ! 

• Thar's three good fellows gone under ! Wagh 1 



THE FIGHT IX THE PASS. 325 

• Who are they ?' asked Seguin, and the men turned 
round with inquiring looks. 

' Thar's one Delaware, and big Jim Harris, and * 

'Who is the third man that's missing? Can any 
one tell?' 

' I think, captain, it's Kirker.' 

'It is Kirker, by the 'tarnal'. I seed him down, 
Wagh ! They'll lift his har to a sartinty.' 

'Ay, they'll fish him out below. That's a sure 
case.' 

" They'll fish out a good haul o' thur own, I reckin. 
It'll be a tight race, anyhow. I've heern o' a horse 
runnin' agin a thunder shower ; but them niggurs '11 
make good time, if thur tail sain't wet afore they git 
t'other eend — they will.' 

As the trapper spoke, the floating and still struggling 
Bodies of his comrades were carried to a bend in the 
canon, and whirled out of sight. The channel was 
now filled with the foaming yellow flood that frothed 
against the rocks as it forged onward. 

Our clanger was over for the time. The canon had 
become impassable ; and, after gazing for a while upon 
the torrent, most of us with feelings of awe, we turned 
away, and walked toward the spot where we had left 
oar iiorsee. 



CIIAPTE1I XLII. 



THE BARRANCA. 



We staked our horses upon the open plain, anil, return- 
ing to the thicket, cut down wood and kindled tires. 
We felt secure. Our pursuers, even had they escaped 
back to the valley, could not now reach us, except by 
turning the mountains or waiting for the falling of the 
flood. 

We knew that that would be as sudden as its rise, 
should the rain cease ; but the storm still raged with 
unabated fury. 

We could soon overtake the atajo ; but we de- 
termined to remain for some time at the canon, until 
men and hor.?es had refreshed themselves by eating. 
Both were in need of food, as the hurried events of tlit 
preceding days had given no opportunity for a regular 
bivouac. 

The fires were soon blazing under shelter of the 
overhanging rocks ; and the dried meat was broiled 
l'cr our suppers, and eaten with sufficient relish. 
Supper ended, we sat, with smoking garments, around 
the red embers. Several of the men had received 
wi mnds. These were rudely dressed by their comrades, 
the doctor having gone forward with the atajo. 

We remained for several hours by the canon. The 
tempest still played around us, and the water rose 
higher and higher. This was exactly what we wished 
for ; and we had the satisfaction of seeing the flood 
increase to such a height that, as fiubo assured us, it 
could not subside for hours. It was then resolved 
tlat we should continue our journey 



TUL BAIIKANC'A. 32 1 

It was near midnight when we drew our pickets 
end rode off. The rain had partially blinded the trail 
nado by El Sol and his party, but the men who now 
followed it were not much used to guide-posts, and 
Ttube, acting as leader, lifted it at a trot. At intervals 
the flashes of lightning showed the mule-tracks in the 
mud, and the white peak that beckoned us in the 
distance. 

We travelled all night. An hour after sunrise wo 
overtook the atajo, near the base of the snow moun- 
tain. We halted in the mountain pass; and, after a 
short while spent in cooking and caling breakfast, 
continued our journey across the sierra. The road 
led through a dry ravine, into an open plain that 
stretched oast and south beyond the reach of our 

vision. It was a desert. 

****** 

I will not detail the events that occurred to us in 
the passage of that terrible Jornada. They were 
similar to those wo experienced in the deserts to tho 
'west. We suffered from thirst, making one stretch of 
sixty miles without water. W r e passed over sage- 
covered plains, without, a living object to break the 
death-like monotony that extended around us. We 
cooked our meals over the blaze of the artemisia. 
But our provisions gave out ; and the pack-mules, 
one by one, fell under the knives of the hungry 
hunters. By night we camped without fires : we 
dared not kindle them ; for though, as yet, no pursuers 
had appeared, wo knew they must be on our trail. 
We had travelled with such speed that they had not 
been able to come up with us. 

For three days we headed towards the south-east. 
On tho evening of the third we descried the Mimbrcs 
mountains towering up on the eastern border of the 



'i'28 THE SCALl'-HUNTERS. 

desert. The peats of these were well known to the 
hunters, and became our guides as we journeyed 
on. 

We approached the Mimbres in a diagonal direction, 
as it was our purpose to pass through the sierra by 
the route of the old mine, once the prosperous property 
of our chief. To him every feature of the landscape 
was a familiar object. I observed that his spirits rose 
as we proceeded onward. 

At sundown we reached the head of the Barranca 
del Oro ; a vast cleft that traversed the plain leading 
down to the deserted mine. This chasm, like a fissure 
caused by some terrible earthquake, extended for a 
distance of twenty miles. On either side was a trail ; 
for on both the table-plain ran in horizontally to the 
very lips of the abyss. About midway to the mine, 
on the left brow, the guide knew of a spring, and we 
proceeded toward this with the intention of camping 
by the water. 

We dragged wearily along. It was near midnight 
when we arrived at the spring. Our horses were 
unsaddled and staked on the open plain. 

Here Seguin had resolved that we should rest 
longer than usual. A feeling of security had come 
over him as he approached these well-remembered 
scenes. 

There was a thicket of young cotton-trees ana 
willows fringing the spring, and in the heart of this a 
fire was kindled. Another mule was sacrificed to the 
manes of hunger ; and the hunters, after devouring 
the tough steaks, flung themselves upon the ground 
and slept. The horse-guard only, out by the caballada, 
stood leaning upon his ritie silent and watchful. 

Resting my head in the hollow of my saddle, I lay 
down by the fire. Seguin was near me with his 



THE BARRANCA. 329 

flaughter. The Mexican girls and the Indian captives 
lay clustered over the ground, wrapped in their tilmas 
and striped blankets. They were all asleep, or 
seemed so. 

I was as wearied as the rest, but my thoughts kept 
me awake. My mind was busy with the bright future. 
' Soon,' thought I, ' shall I escape from these horrid 
scenes ; soon shall I breathe a purer atmosphere in 
the sweet companionship of my beloved Zoe. Beautiful 
Zoe! before two days have passed, I shall again be 
with you, hold you to my bosom, press your im- 
passioned lips, call you my loved : my own ! Again 
■shall we wander through the silent garden by the 
river groves ; again shall we sit upon the moss-grown 
seats in the still evening hours ; again shall we utter 
those wild words that caused our hearts to vibrate 
with mutual happiness ! Zoe, pure and innocent as 
the angels ' The child-like simplicity of that question 
— ' Enrique, what is to marry ?' Ah ! sweet Zoe ! you 
shall soon learn. Ere long I shall toach you. Ere 
long wilt thou be mine ; for ever mine ! 

' Zoe ! Zoe ! are you awake ? Do you lie sleepless 
»n your soft couch ? or am I present in your dreams ? 
Do you long for my return, as I to hasten it ? Oh 
that the night were past ! I cannot wait for rest. 
I could ride on sleepless — tireless — on— on !' 

My eye rested upon the features of Adele, upturned 
and shining in the blaze of the fire. I traced the 
outlines of her sister's face : the high, noble front, the 
arched eyebrow, and the curving nostril. But the 
orightness of complexion was not there ; the smile of 
angelic innocence was not there. The hair was dark, 
the skin browned ; and there was a wildness in the 
expression of the eye stamped, no doubt, by the 
•xperience of many a savage scene. Still was eh 

IT 



i53U THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

beautiful, but it was beauty of a far less spiritual 
order than that of my betrothed. 

Iler bosom rose and fell in short, irregulai puisations. 
Once or twice, while I was gazing, sne halt awojse, and 
muttered some words in the Indian tongue. Her 
sleep was troubled ana DroKen. 

During the journey, Seguin nad waited upoD tier 
with all the tender solicitude of a lather ; but sne had 
received his attentions with indifference, or at most 
regarded them with a cold thankfulness. It was 
difficult to analyse the feelings that actuated her. 
Most of the time she remained silent and sullen. 

The father endeavoured, once or twice, to resusci- 
tate the memories of her childhood, but without 
success ; and with sorrow at his heart he had each 
time relinquished the attempt. 

I thought ho was asleep. I was mistaken. On 
looking more attentively in his face, I saw that he 
was regarding her with deep interest, and listening to 
the broken phrases that fell from her lips. There was 
a picture of sorrow and anxiety in his look that 
touched me to the heart. 

As I watched him, the girl murmured some words, 
to me unintelligible, but among them I recognised the 
name 'Dacoma.' 

I saw that Seguin started as he heard it. 

'Poor child!' said he, seeing that I was awake 
' she is dreaming, and a troubled dream, it is. 1 tiny* 
balf a mind to wake her out of it.' 

; She needs rest,' I replied. 
Ay, if that be rest. Listen! again "JDac f>,nB •" 

' It is the name of the captive chiei.' 

' Ay ; they Avere to have been v arneu, fcccoidmg to 
their laws.' 

' But how did you learn ILit/ 



THE BARRANCA. 331 

' From Rube : he heavd jt while he was a priftonei 
at the town.' 

' And did she love him, do you znms. V 

'No. It appears not. She bad been sAu-^d is 
the daughter of the medicine chief, ana .bacoma 
claimed her for a wife. On certain conditions she 
was to have been given to him ; but she feared rot 
loved him, as her words now testify, l'oor cbil<l a 
wayward fate has been hers.' 

' In two journeys more her sufferings will be over. 
She will be restored to her home, to her mother.' 

' Ah ! if she should remain thus it will break the 
heart of my poor Adele.' 

' Fear not, my friend. Time will restore her 
memory. I think I have heard of a parallel circum- 
stance among the frontier settlements of the Missis- 
sippi.' 

' Oh ! true ; there have been many. We will hope 
for the best.' 

' Once in her home the objects that surrounded her 
in her younger days may strike a chord in her re- 
collection. She may yet remember all. May she not ?' 

'Hope! hope!' 

'At all events, the companionship of her mother 
and sister will soon win her from the thoughts of 
savage life. Fear not! She will be your daughter 
again.' 

I urged these ideas for the purpose of giving con- 
solation. Seguin made no reply ; out 1 saw ttiat the 
painful and anxious expression still remained clouding 
his features. 

My own heart was not without its heaviness, a 
dark foreboding began to creep into h rrom some 
undefined cause. Wore his thoughts in comni ul ,j i) 
with mine ? 

t2 



.532 THE SCALP-HUNTEKS. 

'How long,' I asked, 'before we can reach your 
tiouse on the Del Norte ?' 

I scarce knew why I was prompted to put this 
question. Some fear that we were still in peril from 
he pursuing foe ? 

'The day after to-morrow,' he replied, 'by the 
evening. Heaven grant we may find them safe !' 

I started as the words issued from his lips. They 
had brought pain in an instant. This was the true 
cause of my undefined forebodings. 

' You have fears Y I inquired hastily. 

' I have.' 

' Of what ? of whom ?' 

' The Navajoes.' 

' The Navajoes !' 

' Yes. My mind has not been easy since I saw them 
go eastward from the PiEon. I cannot understand 
why they did so, unless they meditated an attack on 
Borne settlements that lie on the old Llanos' trail. If 
not that, my fears are that they have made a descent 
on the valley of El Paso, perhaps on the town itself. 
One thing may have prevented them from attacking 
the town : the separation of Dacoma's party, which 
would leave them too weak for that; but still the 
more danger to the small settlements both north and 
south of it.' 

The uneasiness I had hitherto felt arose from an 
expression which Seguin had dropped at the Piiion 
spring. My mind had dwelt upon it, from time to 
time, during our desert journeyings ; but as he did 
not speak of it afterwards, I thought that he had not 
attached so much importance to it. I had reasoned 
wrongly. 

' It is just probable,' continued the chief, ' that the 
Paseiios may defend themselves. They have done so 



THE BARRANCA. 333 

heretofore, with more spirit than any of the other 
settlement, and hence their long exemption from 
being plundered. Partly that, and partly because our 
band has protected their neighbourhood for a length 
of time, which the savages well know. It is to be 
hoped that the fear of meeting with us will prevent 
them from coming into the Jornada, north of the 
town. If so, ours have escaped. 

' God grant,' I faltered, ' that it may be thus !' 

' Let us sleep,' added Seguin. ' Perhaps our appre- 
hensions are idle, and they can benefit nothing. To- 
morrow we shall march forward without halt, if our 
animals can bear it. Go to rest, my friend ; you have 
not much time.' 

So saying, he laid his head in the saddle, and com- 
posed himself to sleep. In a short while, as if by an 
act of volition, he appeared to be in a profound slumber. 

With me it was different. Sleep was banished from 
my eyes, and I tossed about with a throbbing pulse 
and a brain filled with fearful fancies. The very re- 
action from the bright dreams in which I had just 
been indulging rendered my apprehensions painfully 
active. I began to imagine scenes that might be 
enacting at that very moment : my betrothed strug- 
gling in the arms of some licentious savage ; for thes» 
southern Indians, I knew, possessed none of that cold 
continence and chivalrous delicacy that characterize 
the red men of the 'forest.' 

I fancied her carried into a rude captivity ; becom- 
ing the ' squaw ' of some brutal brave ; and with the 
agony of the thought I rose to my feet and rushed out 
upon the prairie. 

Half frantic, I wandered, not heeding whither I 
went. I must have walked for hours, but I took no 
note of the time. 



3-34 TIIK 3CALP-IHJXTER3. 

j. strayed hack upon the edge of the barranca. The 
moou was snming onghtly, but the grim chasm, yawn- 
ing: away into the earth at my feet, lay buried in 
silence ana darkness. My eye could not pierce its 
fathomless glouin. 

l saw the camp and the caballada far above me on 
the bank : but my strength was exhausted, and, giving 
way to my weariness, I sank down upon the very 
brinK of the abyss. The keen torture that had hitherto 
sustained me was followed by a feeling of utter lassi- 
tude. Sleep conquered agony, and I slept. 



CHAPTER XLUI. 

THE FOE. 

must have slept an hour or more. Had my dreams 
been realities they would have filled the measure of 
an age. 

At length the raw air of the morning chilled and 
awoke me. The moon had gone down, for I remem- 
bered that she was close to the horizon when I last 
saw her. Still it was far from being dark, for I could 
see to a considerable distance through the fog. 

' Perhaps the day is breaking,' thought I, and I 
tamed my face to the east. It was as I had guessed : 
the eastern sky was streaked with light; it was 
morning. 

I knew it was the intention of Seguin to start early, 
and I was about summoning rose lotion to raise myself 
when voices broke on my ear. There were short ex- 
clamatory phrases and hoof-strokes upon the prairie 
turf. 



1'HE FOE. 33 

' They are up, and preparing to start. With this 
thought, I leaped to my feet, and commenced hurrying 
towards the camp. 

I had not walked ten paces when I became con- 
scious that the voices were behind me : 

I stopped and listened. Yes ; beyond a doubt I was 
going/rom. them. 

'I have mistaken the way to the camp!' and I 
•stepped forward to the edge of the barranca for the 
purpose of assuring myself. What was my astonish- 
ment to find that I had been going in the right di- 
rection, and that the sounds were coming from the 
•opposite quarter. 

My first thought was that the band had passed me 
and were moving on the route . 

' But no ; Seguin would not. Oh ! he has sent out a 
party to search for me : it is they.' 

I called out 'Hilloa!' to let them know where I 
was. There was no answer; and I shouted again, 
louder than before. All at once the sounds ceased. 
I knew the horsemen were listening, and I called once 
more at the top of my voice. There was a moment's 
silence ; then I could hear a muttering of many voices 
,and the trampling of horses as they gallopea towards 
me. 

i wondered that none of them had yet answered my 
signal •. but my wonder was changed into consterna- 
tion when I perceived that the approaching party 
were on the other side of the barranca I 

Uefoi e i could recover from my surprise, they were 
>o;.*iosite vao and reining up on the bank of the chasm. 
j.ney were still three hundred yards distant; the 
"wiatn oi the gun ; nut 1 could see them plainly through 
the turn and nimy log. There appeared in all about a 
liurdrcd horsemcr and their long spears, their plumed 



336" THE SCALP-HONTER8. 

heads, and half-naked bodies, told me at a glance the% 
were Indians I 

I stayed to inquire no further, but ran with all my 
speed for the camp. I could see the horsemen on 
the opposite cliff keeping pace with me at a slow 
gallop. 

On reaching the spring I found the hunters ia 
surprise, and vaulting into their saddles. Seguin and 
a few others had gone out on the extreme edge, and 
were looking over. They had not thought of an im- 
mediate retreat, as the enemy, having the advantage 
of the light, had already discovered the strength of 
our party. 

Though only a distance of three hundred yards 
separated the hostile bands, twenty miles would have 
to be passed before they could meet in battle. On this 
account Seguin and the hunters felt secure for the- 
time ; and it was hastily resolved to remain where we 
were, until we had examined who and what were our 
opponents. 

They had halted on the opposite bank, and sat in 
their saddles, gazing across. They seemed puzzled at 
our appearance. It was still too dark for them to dis- 
tinguish our complexions. Soon, however, it grew 
clearer ; our peculiar dress and equipments were re- 
cognised ; and a wild yell, the Navajo war-cry, came- 
pealing over the abyss ! 

' It's Dacoma's party !' cried a voice, ' they have 
taken the wrong side o' the gully.' 

' No,' exclaimed another, ' thar's too few o' them for 
Dacoma's men. Thar ain't over a hundred.' 

' Maybe the flood tuk the rest,' suggested the first 
speaker. 

' "Wagh ! how could they 'a missed our trail, that's 
as plain as a waggon-track ? 'Tain't them no how ' 



THE FOE. 33? 

' Who then ? It's Navagh. I kud tell thar yelp H 
I wur sleepin'.' 

'Them's head-chiefs niggurs,' said Bube, at this, 
moment riding forward. ' Looke ! yonder's the ole 
skunk hisself, on the spotted hoss !' 

' You think it is they, Eube ?' inquired Seguin. 

' Sure as shootin', cap.' 

' But where are the rest of his band ? These are 
not all.' 

' They ain't far off, I'll be boun'. Hish-sh ! I hear 
them a-comin'.' 

' Yonder's a crowd ! Look, boys ! look !' 

Through the fog, now floating away, a dark body of 
mounted men were seen coming up the opposite side. 
They advanced with shouts and ejaculations, as though 
they were driving cattle. It was so. As the fog rose 
up, we could see a drove of horses, horned cattle, and 
sheep, covering the plain to a great distance. Behind 
these rode mounted Indians, who galloped to and fro, 
goading the animals with their spears, and pushing 
them forward. 

'Lord, what a plunder ! v exclaimed one of the 
hunters. 

'Ay, them's the fellows have made something by 
thar expedition. We are comin' back empty as we 
went. Wagh !' 

I had been engaged in saddling my horse, and at 
this moment came forward. It was not upon the 
Indians that my eye rested, nor upon the plundered 
cattle. Another object attracted my gaze, and sent 
the blood curdling to my heart. 

Away in the rear of the advancing drove I saw a 
small party, distinct from the rest. Their light 
dresses fluttering in the wind told me that they wero 
not Indians. They were women ; they were captives Y 



83b THE SCALI'-HtjNTEUS 

There appeared to be about twenty in all ; but my 
feelings were such that I took little heed of their 
number. I saw that they were mounted, and that 
faeh was guarded by an Indian, who rode by her 
side. 

With a palpitating heart I passed my eye over the 
proup from one to the other ; but the distance was 
too great to distinguish the features of any of them. 

I turned towards the chief. He was standing with 
the glass to his eye. I saw him start ; his cheek 
suddenly blanched ; his lips quivered convulsively, 
and the instrument fell from his fingers to the ground ! 
With a wild look he staggered back, crying out — 

' Man Dieul Mori Lieu I God ! thou hast stricken 
ae now !' 

I snatched up the telescope to assure myself. But 
it needed not that. As I was raising it an object 
running along the opposite side caught my eye. It 
was the dog Alp ! I levelled the glass, and the next 
moment was gazing through it on the face of my 
betrothed ! 

So close did she seem that I could hardly restrain 
myself from calling to her. I could distinguish her 
pale, beautiful features. Her cheek was wan with 
weeping, and her rich golden hair hung dishevelled 
from her shoulders, reaching to the withers of her 
horse. She was covered with a serape, and a young 
Indian rode beside her, mounted upon a showy horse 
and dressed in the habiliments of a Mexican hussar ! 

I looked at none of the others, though a glance 
showed me her mother in the string of captives that 
came after. 

The drove of horses and cattle soon passed up, and 
the females with their guards arrived opposite us. 
The captives were left back on Iho prairie, while the 



vw Misraty. 33U 

warriors rocie torward to where their comrades had 
nalted by the Drow ol the barranca. 

It was now bright day; the fog had cleared away, 
Mid across the impassable gulf the hostile bands stood 
gazinir at each other ! 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

NEW MISERY. 

It was a most singular rencontre. Here were two 
parties of men, heart-foes to one another, each re- 
turning from the country of the other, loaded with 
plunder and carrying a train of captives ! They had 
met midway, and stood within musket range, gazing 
at each other with feelings of the most bitter hostility ; 
and yet a conflict was as impossible as though twenty 
miles of the earth's surface lay between them. 

On one side were the Navajoes, with consternation 
in their looks, for the warriors had recognized their 
children. On the other stood the scalp-hunters, not 
a few of whom, in the captive train of their enemies, 
could distinguish the features of a wife, a sister, or a 
daughter. 

Each gazed upon the other with hostile hearts and 
glances of revenge. Had they met thus on the open 
prairie, they would have fought to the death. It 
seemed as though the hand of God had interpfeeit 
to prevent the ruthless shedding of blood, which, 
but for the gulf that lay between these ibemen, would 
certainly have ensued. 

I cannot describe how I felt at the moment. I re- 
member that, all at once, I was inspired with new 



340 THE SCAI.l'-HUtfTERS. 

vigour botli of mind and body. Hitherto I had bee* 
little niore than a passive spectator of the events of 
our expedition ; I had been acting without any stimu- 
lating heart-motive ; now I had one that roused me 
to a desperate energy. 

A thought occurred to me, and I ran up to com- 
municate it. Seguin was beginning to recover from the 
terrible blow. The men had learnt the cause of his 
strange behaviour, and stood around him, some of 
them endeavouring to console him. Few of them 
knew aught of the family affairs of their chief, but 
they had heard of his earlier misfortunes: the loss 
of his mine, the ruin of his property, the captivity 
of his child. Xow, when it became known that 
among the prisoners of the enemy were his wife and 
daughter, even the rude hearts of the hunters were 
touched with pity at his more than common sufferings. 
Compassionate exclamations were heard from them, 
mingled with expressions of their determination to 
restore the captives or die in the attempt. 

It was with the intention of exciting such a feeling 
that I had come forwaid. It was my design, out of 
my small stock of world's wealth, to set a premium 
on devotedness and valour; but I saw that nobler 
motives had anticipated me, and I remained silent. 

Seguin seemed pleased at the loyalty of his com- 
rades, and began to exhibit his wonted energy. Hope 
again had possession of him. The men clustered 
round him to offer their advice and listen to his 
directions. 

* We can fight them, capt'n, even-handed,' said the 
Wrapper Garey. ' Thar ain't over two hundred.' 

' Jest a hundred and ninety-six,' interposed a hunter, 
without the weemen. I've counted them; that's 
ftiar number. 1 



NEW MISERY. 341 

' Wal,' continued Garey, ' thar's some difference 
atween us in point o' pluck, I reckin; and what's 
wantin' in number we'll make up wi' our rifles. 1 
never valleys two to one wi' Injuns, an' a trifle throw'd 
in, if ye like.' 

' Look at the ground, Bill ! It's all plain. "Whar 
would we be after a volley ? They'd have the advan- 
tage wi' their bows and lances. Wagh ! they could 
spear us to pieces thar !' 

' I didn't say we would take them on the paraira. 
We kin foller them till they're in the mountains, an 1 
git them among the rocks. That's what I advise.' 

' Ay. They can't run away from us with that drove. 
That's sartin.' 

' They have no notion of running away. They will 
most likely attack us.' 

' That's jest what we want,' said Garey. ' We kin 
£0 yonder, and fight them till they've had a bellyful.' 

The trapper, as he spoke, pointed to the foot of the 
Mimbres, that lay about ten miles off to the eastward. 

' Maybe they'll wait till more comes up. There's 
more of head-chief's party than these ; there were 
nearly four hundred when they passed the Piilon.' 

' Eube, where can the rest of them be ?' demanded 
Seguin ; ' I can see down to the mine, and they are 
not upon the plain !' 

' Ain't a-gwine to be, cap. Some luck in that, I 
reckin. The ole fool has sent a party by t'other trail. 
On the wrong scent — them is.' 

' Why do you think they have gone by the other 
trail ?' 

' Why, cap, it stans for raizon. If they wur a- 
comin' ahint, some o' them niggers on t'other side wud 
'a gone back afore this to hurry 'em up, do 'ee see t 
Thur hain't gone ne'er a one, as I seed." 



342 THE SCALP HUNTERS. 

' You arc right, Rube,' replied Seguin, encouraged by 
the probability of what the other had asserted. ' What 
do you advise us ?' continued he, appealing to the old 
trapper, whose counsel he was in the habit of seeking 
in all cases of similar difficulty. 

' Wal, cap, it's a twistified piece o' business as it 
stans ; an' I hain't figured it out to my satersfaction 
jest yet. If 'ee'll gi' me a kupple o' minutes, I'll 
answer ye to the best o' my possibilities.' 

' Very well ; we will wait for you. Men ! look to 
your arms, and see that they are all in readiness.' 

During this consultation, which had occupied but a 
few seconds of time, we could see that tae enemy was 
similarly employed on the other side. They had 
drawn around their chief, and from their gesticula- 
tions it was plain they were deliberating how they 
should act. 

Our appearance, with the children of their principal 
men as captives, had filled them with consternation at 
what they saw, and apprehensions of a fearful kind for 
what they saw not. Returning from a successful foray, 
laden with spoil, and big with the prospect of feasting 
and triumph, they suddenly perceived themselves out- 
generaled at their own game. They knew we had 
been to their town. They conjectured that we had 
plundered and burnt their houses, and massacred theii 
women and children. They fancied no less ; for this 
was the very work in which thay had themselves been 
ensraj'ed. and their judgment was drawn from their 
nwn conduct. 

They saw moreover that we were a large partv, 
abie to defend what we had taken, at least against 
them ; lor tney knew well that with their fire-arms 
tne scaip-nunters were an overmatch for them, when 
there was anything like an equality of numbers. 



NEW MISERY. 343 

With these ideas, then, it required deliberation on 
their part, as well as Avith us ; and we knew that it 
would be some time before they would act. They too 
tvere in a dilemma. 

The hunters obeyed the injunctions of Seguin, and 
remained silent, waiting upon Eube to deliver his ad- 
vice. 

The old trapper stood apart, half resting upon his 
rifle, which he clutched with both hands near the 
muzzle. He had taken out the 'stopper,' and was 
looking into the barrel, as if he were consulting 
some oracular spirit that he kept bottled up within 
it. It was one of Rube's peculiar ' ways,' and those 
who knew this were seen to smile as they watched 
him. 

After a few minutes spent in this silent entreaty, the 
oracle seemed to have sent forth its response ; and 
Rube, returning the stopper to its place, came walking 
forward to the chief. 

' Billee's right, cap. If them Injuns must be fit, it's 
got to be did whur thur's rocks or timmer. They'd 
whip us to shucks on the paraira. That's settled. 
Wal ; thur's two things : they'll eyther come at us ; if 
so be, yander's our ground ' (here the speaker pointed 
to a spur of the Mimbres) ; ' or we'll be obleeged to 
foller them. If so be, we kin do it as easy fallin' off a 
log. They ain't over leg-free.' 

' But how should we do for provisions, in that case ? 
We could never cross the desert without them.' 

' WJiy, cap, thur's no difeeculty 'bout that. Wi' the 
parairas as dry as they are, I kud stampede that hul 
cavayard as easy as a gang o' burners ; and we'd come 
in for a share o' them, I reckin. Thur's a wuss thing 
than that, this child sn^Us. 

« What ?' 



J44 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

' I'm afecrd we mcmt fall l , wi' Dacoma's niggurs oft 
the hack track ; that's what I'm afeerd on.' 

' True ; it is most prohable.' 

' It ur, unless they got overtuk in the kenyon ; an* I 
don't think it. They understan' that crik too well.' 

The probability of Dacoma's band soon joining thoso 
of the head chief was apparent to all, and cast a 
nhadow of despondency over every face. They were 
t»o doubt, still in pursuit of us, and would soon arrive 
on the ground. 

'Now, cap,' continued the trapper, 'I've gi'n ye my 
jiotion o' things, if so be we're boun' to fight ; but I 
have my behopes we kin get back the weemen 'ithout 
wastin' our gun-fodder.' 

'How? how?' eagerly inquired the chief and 
others. 

' Why, jest this a-way,' replied the trapper, almost 
irritating me with the prolixity of his style. ' 'Ee see 
them Injuns on t'other side o' the gully ?' 

'Yes, yes !' hastily replied Seguin. 

' Wal ; 'ee see these hyur ?' and the speaker pointed 
to our captives. 

' Yes, yes !' 

' TVal ; 'ee see them over yander, though thur hides 
be a coppery colour, has feelins for thur childer like 
white Christyuns. They eat 'em by times, that's 
true ; but thur's a relecgius raizon for that, not many 
•hyur understands, I reckin.' 

' And what would you have us do ?' 

'Why, jest heist a bit o' a white rag an' offer to 
ewop pris'ners. They'll understan' it, and come to 
♦arms, I'll be boun'. That putty leetle gal with the 
iong har's head chiefs darter, an' the rest belongs to 
main men o' the tribe : I picked 'em for that. Besides, 
thur s Daconia an' the yov" "^ueen. They'll bite thur 



NEW M1SEU.Y. 345 

aaiis oft' about them. 'Ee kin give up the chief, and 
trade them out o' the queen best way ye kin.' 

I will follow your advice,' cried Seguin, his eye 
brightening with the anticipation of a happy result. 

' Thur's no time to be wasted, then, cap ; if Daco- 
ma's men makes thur appearance, all I've been 
a-sayin' won't be worth the skin o' a sand-rat.' 

' Not a moment shall be lost ;' and Seguin gave 
orders to make ready the flag of peace. 

' Tt 'ud be better, cap, fust to gi' them a good sight 
o" what we've got. They hain't seed Dacoma yet, nor 
the queen. Thur in the bushes.' 

' Eight !' answered Seguin. ' Comrades ! bring for- 
ward the captives to the edge of the barranca. Bring 
the Navajo chief. Bring the my daughter !' 

The men hurried to obey the command ; and in a 
few minutes the captive children, with Dacoma and 
the mystery queen, were led forward to the very brink 
of the chasm. The scrapes that had shrouded them 
were removed, and they stood exposed in their usual 
costumes before the eyes of the Indians. Dacoma still 
wore his helmet, and the queen was conspicuous in 
uhe rich plume-embroidered tunic. They were at 
once recognised ! 

A cry of singular import burst from the Navajoes 
as they beheld these new proofs of their discomfiture. 
The warriors unslung their lances, and thrust them 
into the earth with impotent indignation. Some oi 
them drew scalps from their belts, stuck them on the 
points of their spears, and shook them at us over the 
brow cf the abyss. They believed that Dacoma' n 
jiand had been destroyed, as well as their women and 
children ; and they threatened us with shouts and 
gestures. 

In the midst of all this, wc noticed a movement 



34 THE SCALP-HUN TEKS. 

among the more staid warriors. A consultation was 
going on. 

It ended. A party were seen to gallop toward the 
captive womeD, who had been left far back upon the 
plain. 

'Great heavens!' cried I, struck with a horrid idea, 
'they are going to butcher them! Quick with the 
flag!' 

JBut before the banner could be attached to its staff, 
the Mexican women were dismounted, their rebozos 
pulled off, and they were led forward to the preci- 
pice. 

It was only meant for a counter-vaunt, the retalia- 
tion of a pang ; for it was evident the savages knew 
that among their captives were the wife and daughter 
of our chief. These were placed conspicuously in 
front, upon the very brow of the barranca. 



CHAPTEE XLV. 

THE FLAG OF TEUCB. 

The? might have spared themselves the pains. That 
agony was already felt ; but, indeed, a scene followed 
that caused us to suffer afresh. 

Up to this moment we had not been recognised by 
those near and dear to us. The distance had been too 
great for the naked eye, and our browned faces and 
travel-stained habiliments were of themselves a dis- 
guise. 

Hut the instincts of love are quick and keen, and 
Hie '.-yes of my betrothed were upon me. I saw her 



THci M.AU 0" TRUCE. 347 

start forward ; 1 heard the ogoniscd scream ; a pair ol 
snow-white arms were extended, and she sank, faint- 
ing, upon the cliff. 

At the same instant Madame Seguin had recognised 
the chief, and had called to him by name. Seguin 
shouted to her in reply, and cautioned her in tones of 
entreaty to remain patient and silent. 

Several of the other females, all young and hand- 
some, had recognised their lovers and brothers, and a 
ueene followed that was painful to witness. 

But my eyes were fixed upon her. I saw that she 
recovered from her swoon. I saw the savage in hussar 
trappings dismount, and, lifting her in his arms, carry 
her back upon the prairie. 

I followed them with impotent gaze. I saw that he 
was paying her kind attentions ; and I almost thanked 
him, though I knew it was but the selfish gallantry ot 
the lover. 

In a short while she rose to her feet again, and 
rushed back toward the barranca. I heard my name 
uttered arose the ravine. Hers was echoed back ; but 
at the moment both mother and daughter were sur- 
rounded by their guards, and carried back. 

Meanwhile, the white flag had been got ready, and 
Seguin, holding it aloft, stood out in front. We re- 
mained silent, watching with eager glances for the 
answer. 

There was a movement among the clustered Indians. 
We heard their voices in earnest talk, and saw that 
something was going on in their midst. 

Presently, a tall, fine-looking man came out from 
the crowd, holding an object in his left hand of a 
white colour. It was a bleached fawn-skin. In his 
right hand he carried a lance. 

We saw him place the fawn-skip on the blade of the 

b 2 



rf-48 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

lance, and stand forward holding it aloft. Our signal 
->f peace was answered. 

'Silence, men!' cried Seguin, speaking to the 
hunters ; and then, raising his voice, he called aloud 
in the Indian language — 

'Navajoes! you know whom we are. We have 
passed through your country, and visited your head 
town. Our object was to search for our dear rela- 
tives, who we knew were captives in your laud. 
Some we have recovered, but there are many others 
we could not find. That these might be restored to 
as in time, we have taken hostages, as you see. We 
might have brought away many more, but these we 
considered enough. We have not burned your town ; 
we have not harmed your wives, your daughters, nor 
your children. With the exception of these, our 
prisoners, you will find all as you left them.' 

A murmur ran through the ranks of the Indians. It 
was a murmur of satisfaction. They had been under 
the full belief that their town was destroyed and their 
women massacred ; and the words of Seguin, there 
fore, produced a singular effect. We could hear 
joyful exclamations and phrases interchanged among 
the warriors. Silence was again restored, and Seguin 
continued — 

'We see that you have been in our country. You 
Save made captives as well as we. You are red men. 
Red men can feel for their kindred as well as white 
men. We know this ; and for that reason have I 
raised the banner of peace, that each may restore 
to the other his own. It will please the Great Spirit, 
and will give satisfaction to both of us ; for that 
which you hold is of most value to us, and that 
which we have is dear only to you. Navajoes 1 I 
have spoken. I await your answer.' 



IrfE FLAG OF TRUCK. 345 

When Seguin had ended, the warriors gathered 
Around the head chief, and we could see that an 
earnest debate was going on amongst them. It was 
plain there were dissenting voices ; but the debate 
was soon over, and the head chief, stepping forward, 
gave some instructions to the man who held the flag. 
The latter in a loud voice replied to Seguin's speech 
■&s follows : — 

'White chief! you have spoken well, and \our 
words have been weighed by our warriors. You 
ask nothing more than what is just and fair. It 
would please the Great Spirit and satisfy us to ex- 
change our captives ; but how can we tell that your 
words are true ? You say that you have not burned 
our town nor harmed our women and children. How 
c&n we know that this is true ? Our town is far off ; 
bo are our women, if they be still alive. We cannot 
ask them. We have only your word. It is not 
enough.' 

Seguin had already anticipated this difficulty, and 
nad ordered one of our captives, an intelligent lad, to 
be brought forward. 

The boy at this moment appeared by his side. 

'Question him!' shouted he, pointing to the captive 
lad. 

* And why may we not question our brother, the 
chief Dacoma? The lad is young. He may not 
understand us. The chief could assure us better.' 

' Dacoma was not with us at the town. He knows 
not what was done there.' 

' Let Dacoma answer that.' 

' Brother !' replied Seguin, ' you are wrongly sus- 
picious, but you shall have his answer,' and he ad- 
dressed Borne words to the Navajo chief, who sat near 
iiim upon the ground. 



iiftO THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

The question was then put directly to Dacoma by 
the speaker on the other side. The proud Indian, 
who seemed exasperated with the humiliating situa- 
tion in which he was placed, with an angry wave of 
his hand and a short ejaculation answered in the 
negative. 

'Now, brother,' proceeded Seguin, 'you see I have 
spoken truly. Ask the lad what you first proposed.' 

The boy was then interrogated as to whether we- 
had burnt the town or harmed the women and chil- 
dren. To these two questions he also returned a 
negative answer. 

' "Well, brother,' said Seguin, ' are you satisfied ?' 

For a long time there was no reply. The warriors 
were again gathered in council, and gesticulating with 
earnestness and energy. We could see that there was 
a party opposed to pacific measures, who were evi- 
dently counselling the others to try the fortune of a 
battle. These were the younger braves ; and I observed 
that he in the hussar costume, who, as Eube informed 
us, was the son of the head chief, appeared to be the 
leader of this party. 

Had not the head chief been so deeply interested in- 
the result, the counsels of these might have carried r 
for the warriors well knew the scorn that would await 
them among neighbouring tribes should they return, 
without captives. Besides, there were numbers who^ 
felt another sort of interest in detaining them. They 
had looked upon the daughters of the Del Norte, and' 
Biivv that they were fair.' 

But the counsels of the oldei men at length pre- 
vailed, and the spokesman replied : — 

' The Navajo warriors have considered what they 
have heard. They believe that the white chief ha» 
spoken the truth, and they agree to exchange their 



THE FLAG OF TRUCK. . .') i 

prisoners. That this may be done in a proper and 
becoming manner, they propose that tweuty warriors 
be chosen on each side ; that these warriors shall lay 
down their arms on the prairie in presence of all , 
that they shall then conduct their captives to the 
crossing of the barranca by the mine, and there settle 
the terms of their exchange ; that all the others on 
both sides shall remain where they now are until the 
unarmed warriors have got back with the exchanged 
prisoners ; that the white bamiers shall then be struck, 
and both sides be freed from the treaty. These are 
the words of the Navajo warriors.' 

It was some time before Seguin could reply to this 
proposal. It seemed fair enough ; but yet there was 
a 'manner about it that led us to suspect some design, 
and we paused a moment to consider it. The con- 
cluding terms intimated an intention on the part or 
the enemy of making an attempt to retake their 
captives ; but we cared little for this, provided we 
could once get them on our side of the barranca. 

It was very proper that the prisoners should be con- 
ducted to the place of exchange by unarmed men, 
and twenty was a proper number ; but Seguin well 
knew how the Navajoes would interpret the word 
' unarmed ;' and several of the hunters were cautioned 
in an under tone to ' stray ' into the bushes, and con- 
ceal their knives and pistols under the flaps of their 
hunting shirts. We thought that we observed a 
similar manoeuvre going on upon the opposite bank 
with the tomahawks of our adversaries. 

We could make but little objection to the terms pro. 
posed ; and as Seguin knew that time saved was an 
important object, he hastened to accept them. 

As soon as this was announced to the Navajoes, 
twenty men— already chosen, no doubt — stepped out 



352 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

into the open prairie, and striking their lances inte 
the ground, rested against them their bows, quivers, 
and shields. We saw no tomahawks, and we knew 
that every Xavajo carries this weapon. They all 
had the means of concealing them about their per- 
sons ; for most of them were dressed in the garb 
of civilized life ; in the plundered habiliments of the 
rancho and the hacienda. "We cared little, as we, too, 
were sufficiently armed. We saw that the party 
selected were men of powerful strength. In fact, 
they were the picked warriors of the tribe. 

Ours were similarly chosen. Among them were El 
Sol and Garey, Eube, and the bull-fighter Sanchez. 
Seguin and I were of the number. Most of the 
trappers with a few Delaware Indians, completed 
the complement. 

The twenty were soon selected ; and, stepping out 
on the open ground, as the Xavajoes had done, we 
piled our rifles in the presence of the enemy. 

Our captives were then mounted and made ready 
for starting. The queen and the Mexican girls were 
brought forward among the rest. 

This last was a piece of strategy on the part of 
Seguin. He knew that we had captives enough to 
exchange one for one, without these ; but he saw, as 
we all did, that to leave the queen behind would 
interrupt the negotiation, and perhaps put an end to 
it altogether. He had resolved, therefore, on taking 
her along, trusting that he could better negotiate for 
her on the ground. Failing this, there would be but 
one appeal — to arms ; and he knew that our party 
was well prepared for that alternative. 

Both sides were at length ready, and, at a signal, 
lommeneeil riding down the barranca, in the direc- 
tion of the mine. The rest of the two bands remained 



A VEXED THKATY. 352 

eyeing each other across the gulf, with glances of 
distrust and hatred. Neither party could move 
without the other seeing it ; for the plains in which 
they were, though on opposite sides of the barranca, 
were but segments of the same horizontal plateau. 
A horseman proceeding from either party could have 
been seen by the others to a distance of many miles. 

The flags of truce were still waving, their spears 
stuck into the ground ; but each of the hostile bands 
held their horses saddled and bridled, ready to mount 
at the first movement of the other. 



CHAPTEK XLVI. 

A VEXED TREATY. 

Within the barranca was the mine. The shafts, rude 
diggings, pierced the cliffs on both sides, like so many 
caves. The bottom between the cliffs was bisected 
by a rivulet that murmured among loose rocks. 

On the banks of this rivulet stood the old smelting- 
houses and ruined ranches of the miners. Most of 
them were roofless and crumbling to decay. The 
ground about them was shaggy and choked up. There 
were briers, mezcal plants, and cacti ; all luxuriant, 
hirsute, and thorny. 

Approaching this point, the road on each side of the 
barranca suddenly dips, the trails converging down- 
ward, and meeting among the ruins. 

When in view of these, both parties halted, and sig- 
nalled each other across the ravine. After a short 
parley, it was proposed by the Navajoes that the 
gaptives and horses should remain on the top of the 



354 iHE SCALP-HUNThUS. 

hill, each train to be guarded by two men. The rest, 
eighteen on each side, should descend to the bottom 
of the barranca, meet among the houses, and, having 
smoked the calumet, arrange the terms of the ex- 
change. 

Neither Seguin nor I liked this proposal. We saw- 
that, in the event of a rupture in the negotiation (a 
thing we more than half anticipated), even should our 
party overpower the other, we could gain nothing. 
Before we could reach the Navajo captives, up the 
wteep hill, the two guards would hurry them off; or 
(we dreaded to think of it) butcher them on the 
ground ! It was a fearful thought, but there was 
nothing improbable in it. 

We knew, moreover, that smoking the peace-pipe 
would be another waste of time ; and we were on 
thorns about the approach of Dacoma's party. 

But the proposal had come from the enemy, and they 
were obstinate. We could urge no objections to it 
without betraying our designs ; and we were com- 
pelled, though loth, to accept it. 

Wc dismounted, leaving our horses in charge of the 
guard, and descending into the ravine, stood face to 
face with the warriors of Navajo. 

They were eighteen picked men ; tall, broad-shoul- 
dered, and muscular. The expression of their faces 
was savage, subtle, and grim. There was not a smile 
to be seen, and the lip that at that moment had 
betrayed one would have lied. There was hate in 
their hearts and vengeance in their looks. 

For a moment both parties stood scanning eacn 
other in sulence. These were no common foes ; it wa* 
no common hostility that for years had nerved them 
against each other ; and it was no common cause that 
I'od now, for the first time, brought them face to face 



A VEXED TTtFATV. 3o5 

without arms in their hands. A mutual want had 
forced them to their present attitude of peace, though 
it was more like a truce between the lion and tiger 
which have met in an avenue of the jungly forest, 
and stand eyeing one another. 

Though by agreement without arms, both were 
sufficiently armed, and they knew that of each other. 

The handles of tomahawks, the hafts of knives, and 
the shining butts of pistols, peeped carelessly out from 
the dresses both of hunters and Indians. There was 
little effort made to conceal these dangerous toys, and 
they were on all sides visible. 

At length our mutual reconnaissance came to a 
period, and we proceeded to business. 

There happened to be no breadth of ground clear of 
weeds and thorny rubbish, where Ave could seat our- 
selves for the ' smoke.' Seguin pointed to one of the 
houses, an adobe structure in a tolerable state of pre- 
servation, and several entered to examine it. The 
building had been used as a smelting-house, and 
broken truckc and other implements were lying over 
the floor. There was but one apartment, not a large 
one either, and near its centre stood a brazero covered 
with cold slag and ashes. 

Two men were appointed to kindle a fire upon the 
brazero ; and the rest, entering, took their seats upon 
the trucks and masses of quartz rock ore that lay 
ai ound the room. 

As I was about seating myself, an object leaped 
against me from behind, uttering a low whine that 
ended in a bark. I turned, and beheld the dog Alp. 
The animal, frenzied with delight, rushed upon me re< 
peatedly ; and it was some time before I could quiet 
him and take my place. 

At length we were all seated upon opposite sides oJ 



;J5t> TliK SCALP-HUNTERS. 

the fire, each party forming the arc of a circle, con' 
cave to the other. 

There was a heavy door still hanging upon its 
hinge ; and as there were no windows in the house, 
this was suffered to remain open. It opened to the 
inside. 

The fire was soon kindled, and the clay-stone calu- 
met filled with ' kini-kinik.' It was then lighted, and 
passed from mouth to mouth in profound silence. 

We noticed that each of the Indians, contrary to 
their usual custom of taking a whiff or two, smoked 
long and slowly. We knew it was a ruse to protract 
the ceremony and gain time ; while we — I answer for 
Seguin and myself — were chafing at the delay. 

When the pipe came round to the hunters, it passed 
in quicker time. 

The unsocial smoke was at length ended, and the 
negotiation began. 

At the very commencement of the ' talk,' I saw that 
we were going to have a difficulty. The Navajoes, 
particularly the younger warriors, assumed a bullying 
and exacting attitude that the hunters were not likely 
to brook ; nor would they have submitted to it for a 
moment but for the peculiar position m which their 
•chief was placed. For his sake they held in as well 
as they could ; but the tinder was apparent, and would 
cot bear many sparks before it blazed up. 

The first question was in relation to the number of 
the prisoners. The enemy had nineteen, while we, 
without including the queen or the Mexican girls, 
numbered twenty-one. This was in our favour ; but, 
to our surprise, the Indians insisted that their captives 
were grown women, that most of ours were children. 
and that two of the latter should be exchanged foi 
one of the former ! 



A VEXED TREAT*. C.57 

To this absurdity Scguin replied that we could not 
ngree ; but, as he did not wish to keep any of theii 
prisoners, he wonld exchange the twenty-one for the 
nineteen. 

'Tvenly-one!' exclaimed a brave; 'why, you have 
twenty-seven. We counted them on the bank.' 

' Six of those you counted are our own people 
They are whites and Mexicans.' 

'Six whiter-!' retorted the savage; 'there are but 
five. Who is the sixth ?' 

' Perhaps it is our queen ; she is light in colour. 
Perhaps the pale chief has mistaken her for a 
white !' 

'Ha! ha! ha!' roared the savages in a taunting 
laugh. ' Our queen a white ! Ha ! ha ! ha !' 

' Your queen,' said Seguin, in a solemn voice ; ' your 
queen, as you call her, is my daughter. ,' 

'Ha! ha! ha! again howled they, in scornful 
chorus; 'your daughter! Ha! ha! ha!' and the room 
rang with their demoniac laughter. 

'Yes!' repeated he, in a loud but faltering voice, 
for he now saw the turn that things were taking. 
' Yes, the is my daughter.' 

' How can that be ?' demanded one of the braves, an 
orator of the tribe. ' You have a daughter among our 
captives ; we know that. She is white as the snow 
upon the mountain top. Her hair is yellow as the 
gold upon these armlets. The queen is dark in com- 
plexion ; among our tribes there are many as light as 
she, and her hair is like the wing of the black vulture. 
How is that? Our children are like one another. 
Are not yours the same? If the queen be your 
daughter, then the golden-haired maiden is not. You 
cannot be the father of both. But no !' continued the 
subtle savage, elevating his voice, 'tho queen is nui. 



30» THE SCALP-HUXTKE3. 

vour daughter. She is of our race — a child of Mon- 
tezuma — a queen of the Navajoes !' 

' The queen must be returned to us 1' exclaimed 
several braves ; ' she is ours ; we must have her !' 

In vain Seguin reiterated his paternal claim. In 
vain he detailed the time and circumstances of her 
capture by the Navajoes themselves. The braves 
.again cried out — 

1 She is our queen ; we must have her !' 

Seguin, in an eloquent speech, appealed to the feel 
ings of the old chief, whose daughter was in similar 
circumstances ; but it was evident that the latter 
Kicked the power, if he had the will, to stay the storm 
that was rising. The younger warriors answered with 
shouts of derision, one of them crying out that 'the 
white chief was raving.' 

They continued for some time to gesticulate, at 
intervals declaring loudly that on no terms would they 
agree to an exchange unless the queen were given up. 
It was evident that some mysterious tie bound them 
to such extreme loyalty. Even the exchange of 
Dacoma was less desired by them. 

Their demands were urged in so insulting a manner 
that we felt satisfied it was their intention, in the end, 
to bring us to a fight. The rifles, so much dreaded 
by them, were absent ; and they felt certain of obtain- 
ing a victory over us. 

The hunters were equally willing to be at it, and 
equally sure of a conquest. 

They only waited the signal from their leader. 

A signal was given; but, to their surprise and 
chagrin, it was one of peace ! 

Seguin, turning to them and looking down — for he 
was upon his feet — cautioued them in a low voice 
to be patient and silent. Then covering his eyes 



A VEXED Til EAT Y. o59 

with his hand, he stood for some moments in an 
attitude of meditation. 

The hunters had full confidence in the talents as 
well as bravery of their chief. They knew that 
he was devising some plan of action, and they pa- 
t; <mtly awaited the result. 

On the other side, the Indians showed no signs ot 
impatience. They cared not how much time was 
consumed, for they hoped that by this time Daeoma's 
party would be on their trail. They sat still, exchang- 
ing their thoughts in grunts and short phrases, while 
many of them filled up the intervals with laughter. 
They felt quite easy, and seemed not in the least to 
dread the alternative of a fight with us. Indeed, to 
look at both parties, one should have said that, man 
to man, we would have been no match for them. 
They were all, with one or two exceptions, men of 
six feet — most of them over it — in height ; while 
many of the hunters were small-bodied men. But 
among these there was not one ' white feather.' 

The Navajoes knew that they themselves were well 
armed for close conflict. They knew, too, that we 
were armed. Ha! they little dreamt how we were 
armed. They saw that the hunters carried knives 
and pistols ; but they thought that, after the first 
volley, uncertain and ill-directed, the knives would 
bo no match for their terrible tomahawks. Tliev 
knew not that from the belts of several of us — El Sol, 
Soguin, Garey, and myself — hung a fearful weapon, 
the most fearful of all others in close combat : the 
Colt revolver. It was then but a new patent, and no 
Navajo had ever heard its continuous and death- 
dealing detonations. 

' Brothers !' said Seguin, again placing himself in an 
attitude to speak, 'you deny that I am the fnther of 



360 THE SCALP-HUXTERS. 

the girl. Two of your captives, whom you know to 
be my wife and daughter, are her mother and sister, 
This you deny. If you be sincere, then, you cannot 
object to the proposal I am about to make. Let them 
be brought before us ; let her be brought. If she fail 
to recognise and acknowledge her kindred, then shall 
I yield my claim, and the maiden be free to return 
■with the warriors of Navajo.' 

The hunters heard this proposition with surprise. 
They knew that Seguin's efforts to awaken any recol- 
lection of himself in the mind of the girl had been un- 
successful. What likelihood was there that she would 
remember her mother ? But Seguin himself had little 
hope of this, and a moment's reflection convinced us 
that his proposal was based upon some hidden idea. 

He saw that the exchange of the queen was a sine 
qua non with the Indians ; and without this being 
granted, the negotiations would terminate abruptly, 
leaving his wife and younger daughter still in the 
hands of our enemies. He reflected on the harsh 
lot which would await them in their captivity, while 
she returned but to receive homage and kindness. They 
must be saved at every sacrifice ; she must be yielded 
up to redeem them. 

But Seguin had still another design. It was a 
strategic manoeuvre, a desperate and dernier ressori 
on his part. It was this : — He saw that, if we could 
once get the captives, his Avife and daughter, down 
among the houses, there would be a possibility, in 
the event of a fight, of carrying them off. The queen 
too might thus be rescued as well. It was the alter- 
native suggested by despair. 

In a hurried whisper he communicated this to those 
of his comrades nearest him. in order to insure tkcii 
prudence and patience. 



A VEXED TREATY. 3G1 

As soon as the proposal was made, the Navajoes 
rose from their seats, and clustered together in a 
corner of the room to deliberate. They spoke in 
low tones. We could not, of course, understand what 
was said ; but from the expression of their faces, and 
their gesticulations, we could tell that they seemed 
disposed to accept it. They knew that the queen 
had not recognised Seguin as her father. They had 
watched her closely as she rode down the opposite 
side of the barranca ; in fact, conversed by signals 
with her, before we could interfere to prevent it. No 
doubt she had informed them of what happened at 
the canon with Dacoma's warriors, and the proba- 
bility of their approach. They had little fear, then, 
that she would remember her mother. Her long 
absence, her age when made captive, her after-life, 
and the more than kind treatment she had received 
at their hands, had long since blotted out every re- 
collection of her childhood and its associations. The 
subtle savages well knew this ; and at length, after 
a discussion which lasted for nearly an hour, they 
resumed their seats, and signified their assent to thi 
proposal. 

Two meu, one from each party, were now sent foi 
the three captives, and we sat waiting their arrival. 

In a short time they were led in. 

I find a difficulty in describing the scene that fol- 
lowed. The meeting of Seguin with his wife and 
daughter; my own short embrace and hurried kiss; 
the sobs and swooning of my betrothed ; the mother's 
recognition of her long-lost child ; the anguish that 
ensued as her yearning heart made its appeals in vain ; 
the half-indignant, half-pitying looks of the hunters ; 
the triumphant gestures and ejaculations of the 
Indians : all formed points in a picture that lives 

2 A 



562 THE SCALP-HUN' TERS. 

with painful vividness in my memory, though I ain 
not sufficiently master of the author's art to paint it. 

In a few minutes the captives were led out of the 
house, guarded by two men, while the rest of ua 
remained to complete the negotiation. 



CHAPTEK XL VII. 

A CONFLICT WITH CLOSE!) DOORS. 

The occurrence did not improve the temper of either 
party, particularly that of the hunters. The Indians 
were triumphant, but not a whit the less inclined to 
obstinacy and exaction. They now returned to their 
former offer. For those of our captives that were 
woman-grown they would exchange one for one, 
and for their chief Dacoma they offered to give two • 
for the rest they insisted on receiving two for one. 

By this arrangement, we could ransom only about 
twelve of the Mexican women ; but finding them 
determined, Se/ruin at length assented to these terms, 
Drovided they would allow us the privilege of choos- 
ing the twelve to be exchanged. 

To our surprise and indignation this was refused ! 

We no longer doubted what was to be the winding 
up of the negotiation. The air was filled with the 
electricity of anger. Hate kindled hate, and venge- 
ance was burning in every eye. 

The Indians scowled on us, glancing malignantly 
out of their oblique eyes. There was triumph too 
in their looks, for they believed themselves far 
stronger than we. 

On the other side sat the hunters quivering under a 



A CONFLICT WITH CLOSED DOCKS. 363 

double indignation. I say double. I can hardly explain 
what I mean. They had never before been so braved 
by Indians. They had, all their lives, been accus- 
tomed, partly out of bravado and partly from actual 
experience, to consider the red men their inferiors 
in subtilty and courage ; and to be thus bearded 
by them filled the hunters, as I have said, with a 
double indignation. It was like the bitter anger 
which the superior feels towards his resisting inferior, 
the lord to his rebellious serf, the master to his lashed 
slave who has turned and struck him. It was thus 
the hunters felt. 

I glanced along their line. I never saw faces with 
such expressions as I saw there and then. Their lips 
were white, and drawn tightly over their teeth ; their 
cheeks were set and colourless ; and their eyes, pro- 
truding forward, seemed glued in their sockets. There 
was no motion to be detected in the features of any, 
save the twitching of angry muscles. Their right 
hands were buried in the bosoms of their half-open 
shirts, each, I knew, grasping a weapon ; and they 
appeared not to sit, but to crouch forward, like pan- 
thers quivering upon the spring. 

There was a long interval of silence on both sides. 

It was broken by a cry from without : the scream 
of the war-eagle ! 

We should not have noticed this, knowing that 
these birds were common in the Mimbres, and one 
might have flown over the ravine ; but we thought, 
Dr fancied, that it had made an impression upon our 
adversaries. They were men not apt to show any 
sudden emotion; but it appeared to us that, all at 
once, their glances grew bolder, and more triumphant. 
Could it have been a signal ? 

"We listened for a minute. The scream was repeated 

2 a 2 



304 THE SCALP-HUXTEKS. 

and, although it was exactly after the manner of a 
oird well known to us, the white-headed eagle, we 
sat with unsatisfied and fearful apprehensions. 

The young chief, he in the hussar dress, was upon 
his feet. He had been the most turbulent and exact- 
ing of our opponents. He was a man of most villan- 
ous and licentious character, so Eube had told us 
but nevertheless holding great power among the 
braves. It was he who had spoken in refusal of 
Seguin's offer, and he was now about to assign his 
reasons. "We knew them without that. 

' Why,' said he, looking at Seguin as he spoke, 
'why is it that the white chief is so desirous of 
choosing among our captives ? Is it that he wishes to 
get back the yellow-haired maiden ?' 

He paused a moment, as if for a reply ; but Seguin 
made none. 

'If the white chief believes our queen to be his 
daughter, would not he wish that her sister should be 
her companion, and return with her to our land ?' 

Again he paused ; but, as before, Seguin remained 
silent. 

The speaker proceeded. 

' Why not let the yellow-haired maiden return with 
us, and become my wife ? Who am I that ask this ? 
A chief of the Navajoes, the descendants of the great 
Montezuma ; the son of their king V 

The saA-age looked around him with a Taunting air 
as he uttered these words. 

' Who is she,' he continued, ' that I am thus begging 
for a bride ? The daughter of one who is not even 
respected among his own people : the daughter of a 
eulatta!' 

I looked at Seguin. I saw his form dilating. I 
iaw the big veins swelling along his throat. I sav 



A CONFLICT WITH CI.'JSED DOORS. 06 5 

gathering in his eyes that wild expression I had once 
before noticed. I knew that the crisis was near. 

Again the eagle screamed ! 

' But !' proceeded the savage, seeming to draw new 
boldness from the signal, 'I shall beg no more. I 
love the white maiden. She must be mine ; and this 
very night shall she sleep ' 

He never finished the sentence. Scguin's bullet had 
sped, piercing the centre of his forehead. I caught a 
glimpse of the red round hole, with its circle of blue 
powder, as the victim fell forward on his face ! 

Altogether we sprang to our feet. As one man rosa 
hunters and Indians. As if from one throat pealed 
the double shout of defiance ; and, as if by one hand, 
knives, pistols, and tomahawks were drawn together 
The next moment we closed and battled ! 

Oh ! it was a fearful strife, as the pistols cracked, 
the long knives glittered, and the tomahawks swept 
the air, a fearful, fearful strife ! 

You would suppose that the first shock would have 
prostrated both ranks. It was not so. The early 
blows of a struggle like this are wild, and well parried, 
and human life is hard to take. What were the lives 
of men like these ? 

A few fell. Some recoiled from the collision, 
wounded and bleeding, but still to battle again. Some 
fought hand to hand ; while several pairs had clutched, 
and were striving to fling each other in the desperate 
wrestle of death ! 

Some rushed for the door, intending to fight out- 
side. A few got out ; but the crowd pressed against 
it, the door closed, dead bodies fell behind it ; wo 
fought in darkness. 

We had light enough for our purpose. The pistols 
flashed at quick intervals, displaying the horrid pic- 



5G6 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

ture. The light gleamed upon fiend-like faces, upon 
red and waving weapons, upon prostrate forms ot 
men, upon others struggling in every attitude of deadly 
conflict ! 

The yells of the Indians, and the not less savage 
shouts of their white foemen, had continued from the 
first; but the voices grew hoarser, and the shouts 
were changed to groans, and oaths, and short, earnest 
exclamations. At intervals were heard the quick per- 
cussions of blows, and the dull, sodden sound of 
falling bodies. 

The room became filled with smoke, and dust, and 
choking sulphur ; and the combatants were half stifled 
as they fought. 

At the first break of the battle I had drawn my re- 
volver, and fired it in the faces of the closing foemen. 
I had fired shot after shot, some at random, others 
directed upon a victim. I had not counted the reports, 
until the cock ' checking ' on the steel nipple told me 
I had gone the round of the six chambers. 

This had occupied but as many seconds of time. 
Mechanically I stuck the empty weapon behind my 
belt, and, guided by an impulse, made for the door. 
Before I could reach it, it was closed, and I saw that 
to get out was impossible. 

I turned to search for an antagonist ; I was not 
long in finding one. By the flash of a pistol I saw 
one of the Indians rushing upon me with upraised 
hatchet. Up to this time something had hindered me 
from drawing my knife. It was now too late ; and, 
holding out my arms to catch the blow, I ducked 
my head toward the savage. 

I felt the keen blade cutting the flesh as it glanced 
along my shoulder. I was but slightly wounded. He 
bad missed his aim from my stooping so suddenly; 



A CONFLICT WITH CLOSED D00K3. 361 

»ut the impetus brought our bodies together, and the 
aext moment we grappled. 

We stumbled over a heap of rock, and for some mo- 
ments struggled together upon the ground, neither 
able to use his weapon. Again we rose, still locked 
in the angry embrace ; again we were falling with 
terrible force. Something caught us in our descent. It 
shook ; it gave way with a crashing sound, and we 
fell headlong into the broad and brilliant light ! 

I was dazzled and blinded. I heard behind me a 
strange rumbling like the noise made by falling tim- 
bers ; but I heeded not that : I was too busy to specu- 
late upon causes. 

The sudden shock had separated us, and both rose 
at the same instant, again to grapple, and again to 
come together to the earth. We twisted and wriggled 
over the ground, among weeds and thorny cacti. I 
was every moment growing weaker, while the sinewy 
savage, used to such combats, seemed to be gaining 
fresh nerve and breath. Thrice he had thrown me 
under ; but each time I had clutched his right arm, 
and prevented the descending blow. I had succeeded 
in drawing my knife as we fell through the wall ; but 
my arm was also held fast, and I was unable to use 
it. 

As we came to the ground for the fourth time, my 
antagonist fell under me. A cry of agony passed from 
his lips ; his head ' coggled ' over among the weeds ; 
and he lay in my arms without struggling ! 

I felt his grasp gradually relaxing. I looked in his 
face. His eyes were glassy and upturned. Blood 
was gurgling through his teeth. I saw that he was 
iead. 

To my astonishment I saw this, for I knew I had 
tot struck him as yet. I was drawing my arm from 



368 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

under him to do so, when I noticed that he ceased to 
resist. But the knife now caught my eye. It was 
Sed, blade and haft, and so was the hand that clasped 
it. 

As we fell, I had accidentally held it point upward. 
My antagonist had fallen upon the olade I 

I now thought of my betrothed, and, untwining 
myself from the lithe and nerveless limbs of the 
savage, I rose to my feet. The ranche was in flames I 

The roof had fallen in upon the brazero, and the 
dry shingles had caught the blaze. Men were crawl- 
ing out from the burning ruin, but not to rim away. 
No ! Under its lurking flames, amidst the hot smoke, 
they still battled : fierce, and foaming, and frenzied ! 

I did not stay to recognise whom they were, these 
tireless combatants. I ran forward, looking on all 
sides for the objects of my solicitude. The wave 01 
female dresses caught my eye, far up the cliff, on the 
road leading to the Navajo captives. It was they 1 
The three were climbing the steep path, each urged 
onward by a savage. 

My first impulse was to rush after ; but at that mo- 
ment fifty horsemen made their appearance upon the 
hill, and came galloping downward. 

I saw the madness of attempting to follow them 
and turned to retreat towards the other side, where 
we had left our captives and horses. As I ran across 
the bottom, shots rang in my ear, proceeding from our 
6ide of the barranca. Looking up, I descried the 
mounted hunters coming down at a gallop, pursued by 
a cloud of savage horsemen. It was the band of 
Pacoma ! 

Uncertain what to do, I stood for a moment where 
I was, and watched the pursuit. 

The hunters, od reaching the ranches, did not halt, 



A. yuEER ENCOUNTER IN A CAVP:. i369 

out galloped on down the valley, firing as tliey went. 
A body of Indians swept on after them, while another 
oody pulled up, clustered around the blazing ruin, and 
commenced searching among the walls. 

I was yet screened in the thicket of cacti ; but I 
saw that my hiding-place would soon be pierced by 
the eyes of the subtle savages ; and dropping upon my 
hands and knees, I crept into the cliff. On reaching 
it, I found myself close to the mouth of a cave, a 
small shaft of the mine, and into this I at once betook 
myself. 



CHAPTER XLVIIL 

A QUEER ENCOUNTER IN A CAVE. 

The place into which I had crawled was of irregular 
outlines. Eocks jutted along the sides, and between 
these, small lateral shafts had been dug, where the 
miners, had followed the ramifications of the ' quixa. 
The cave was not a deep one ; the vein had not proved 
profitable, and had been abandoned for some other. 

1 kept up it till I was fairly ' in the dark ;' and then 
groping against one side, I found a recess, in which I 
ensconced myself. By peeping round the rock, I 
could see out of the cave, and some distance over the 
bottom of the barranca, where the bushes grew thin 
and straggling, 

1 had hardly seated myself when my attention was 
called to a scene that was passing outside. Two men 
on their hands and knees were crawling through the 
cactus plants in front of the cave. Beyond them half- 
a-dozen savages on horseback were beating the thicket^ 



370 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

but had not yet seen the men. These I recognised 
easily. They were Gode and the doctor. The latter 
was nearer me ; and as he scrambled on over the shingle, 
something started out of the rocks within reach of his 
hand. I noticed that it was a small animal of the 
armadillo kind. I saw him stretch forward, clutch it, 
and with a pleased look deposit it in a bag that was 
by his side. All this time the Indians were whooping 
and yelling behind him, and not fifty yards distant. 

Doubtless the animal was of some new species, but 
the zealous naturalist never gave it to the world. Ho 
had scarcely drawn forth his hand again when a cry 
from the savages announced that he and Gode were 
discovered, and the next moment both lay upon the 
ground pierced with lances and to all appearauce dead ! 

Their pursuers now dismounted with the intention 
of scalping them. Poor Eeicher ! his cap was pulled 
off ; the bleeding trophy followed, and he lay with the 
red skull towards the cave — a hideous spectacle ! 

Another Indian had alighted, and stood over the 
Canadian with his long knife in his hand. Although 
pitying my poor follower, and altogether in no humour 
for mirth, knowing what I did, I could not help 
watching the proceedings with some curiosity. 

The savage stood for a moment, admiring the beau- 
tiful curls that embellished the head of his victim. 
He was no doubt thinking what handsome fringes they 
would make for his leggings. He appeared to be in 
ecstasies of delight ; and from the flourishes which he 
made with his knife, I could see that it was his inten- 
tion to skin the whole head! 

After cutting several capers around it, he stooped 
and grasped a fistful of curls ; but before he had 
touched the scalp with his blade, the hair lifted off, 
displaying the white and marble-like skull 1 



A QUEER ENCOlJlMEE IN A CAVE. 371 

With a cry of terror, the savage dropped the wig, 
and, limning Backward, fell over the body of the 
doctor. The cry attracted his comrades ; and several 
of them, dismounting, approached the strange object 
with looks of astonishment. One, more courageous 
than the rest, picked up the wig, which they all pro- 
ceeded to examine with curious minuteness. 

Then one after another went up to the shining skull, 
and passed his fingers over its smooth surface, all the 
while uttering exclamations of surprise. They tried 
on the wig, took it off, and put it on again, turning it 
in various ways. At length, he who claimed it as his 
property pulled off his plumed head-dress, and, adjust- 
ing the wig upon his own head, front backward, 
stalked proudly around, with the long curls dangling 
over his face ! 

It was altogether a curious scene, and, under other 
circumstances, might have amused me. There was 
something irresistibly comic in the puzzled looks or 
the actors ; but I had been too deeply affected by the 
tragedy to laugh at the farce. There was too much 
of horror around me. Seguin perhaps dead ; she gone 
for ever, the slave of the brutal savage. My own 
peril, too, at the moment ; for I knew not how soon I 
might be discovered and dragged forth. This affected 
me least of all. My life was now of little value to nie, 
and so I regarded it. 

But there is an instinct, so called, of self-preserva- 
tion, even when the will ceases to act. Hopes soon 
6egan to shape themselves in my mind, and along with 
these the wish to live. Thoughts came. I might 
organise a powerful band ; I might yet rescue her. 
Yes ! even though years might intervene, I would 
accomplish this. She would still be true ! She would 
never forget I 



372 THE SCAl,F-HUia']£KS>. 

Poor Seguin ! what a life of hope withered in an 
cour ! he himself sealing the sacrifice with his blood ! 
But I would not despair, even with his fate for a 
warning. I would take up the drama where he had 
ended. The curtain should rise upon new scenes, and 
I would not abandon the stage until I had accom- 
plished a more joyous finale ; or, failing this, had 
reached the denouement of death or vengeance. 

Poor Seguin! No wonder he had been a scalp- 
hunter. I could now understand how holy was his 
hate for the ruthless red man. I, too, had imbibed 
the passion. 

With such reflections passing hastily — for the scene 
I have described, and the sequent thoughts, did not 
occupy much time — I turned my eyes inwards to ex- 
amine whether I was sufficiently concealed in my 
niche. They might take it into their heads to search 
the shaft. 

As I endeavoured to penetrate the gloom that ex- 
tended inwards, my gaze became riveted on an object 
that caused me tc shrink back with a cokl shudder. 
Notwithstanding the scenes I had just passed through, 
this was the cause of still another agony. 

In the thick of the darkness I could distinguish two 
small spots, round and shining. They did not scin- 
tillate, but rather glistened with a steady greenish 
mstre. I knew that they icere eyes ! 

I was in the cave with a panther, or with a still 
more terrible companion, the grizzly bear ! 

My first impulse was to press back into the recess 
where I had hidden myself, This I did, until my back 
leaned against the rocks. I had no thoughts of at- 
tempting to escape out. That would have been from 
the frying-pan into the fire, for the Indians were still 
Ea front cf the cave. Moreover, any attempt to retreat 



A QUEER ENCOUNTER IN A CAVE. 373 

would only draw on the animal, perhaps at that mo- 
ment straining to spring. 

I cowered closely, groping along ni> belt for the 
handle of my knife. I clasped this at length, and 
drawing it forth, waited in a crouching attitude. 

During all this time my eyes had remained fixed on 
the lustrous orbs before me. 

I saw that they were fixed upon mine, and watched 
me without as much as winking. 

Mine seemed to be possessed of abstract volition. 1 
could not take them off. They were held by some 
terrible fascination ; and I felt, or fancied, that the 
moment this should be broken, the animal would 
spring upon me. 

I had heard of fierce brutes being conquered by tho 
glance of the human eye, and I endeavoured to look 
back my vis-a-vis with interest. 

We sat for some time, neither of us moving an inch. 
I could see nothing of the animal's body ; nothing but 
the green gleaming circles that seemed set in a ground 
of ebony. 

As they had remained motionless so long, I con- 
jectured that the owner of them was still lying in his 
lair, and would not make his attack until something 
disturbed him ; perhaps until the Indians had gone 
away. 

The thought now occurred to me that I might 
better arm myself. I knew that a knife would be ol 
little avail against a grizzly bear. My pistol was still 
in my belt, but it was empty. Would the animal 
permit me to load it? I resolved to make the at- 
tempt. 

Still leaving my eyes to fulfil their office, I felt for 
my flask and pistol, and finding both ready, I com- 
menced loading. I proco«4ed with silence and cautlou 



374 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

for I knew that these animals could see in the dark 
and that in this respect my vis-a-vis had the advantage 
of me. I felt the powder in with my finger, and push- 
ing the ball on top of it, rolled the cylinder to the 
right notch, and cocked. 

As the spring ' clicked,' I saw the eyes start. ' It 
will be on me now!' 

Quick as the thought, I placed my finger to the 
trigger ; but before I could level, a voice, with a well- 
known accent, restrained me. 

'Hold on thur, d — n yur!' cried the voice. 'Why 
the d — t — n didn't 'ee say yur hide wur white? I 
thought 'twur some sneaking Injun. Who the h — 1 
are 'ce, anyhow? 'Tain't Bill Garey? No, Billce, 
'tain't you, ole fcllur.' 

No,' said I, recovering from my surprise ; ' it's not 
Bill.' 

'I mout 'a guessed that. Bill wud a know'd me 
cooner. He wud a know'd the glint o' this niggur's 
eyes as I wud his'n. Ah ! poor Billee ! I's afeerd that 
trapper's rubbed out ; an' thur ain't many more o' his 
sort in the mountains. No, that thur ain't. 

Bot it !' continued the voice, with a fierce empha- 
sis ; ' this comes o' layin' one's rifle akiut them. Bf 
I'd 'a had Targuts wi' me, I wudn't 'a been hidin' hyur 
like a scared 'possum. But she are gone ; that leetle 
gun are gone ; an' the mar too ; an' hyur I am 'ithout 
eyther beast or weepun ; cuss the luck!' 

And the last words were uttered with an angry hiss, 
that echoed through every part of the cave. 

'Yur the young fellow; the capt'n's friend, ain't 
ce?' inquired the speaker, with a sudden change of 
tone. 

' Yes,' I replied. 

' I didn't see yur a-coniirr in, or 1 mout 'a spoke- 



A QUEER ENCOUNTER IN A CAVE. 375 

aooner. I've got a smart lick across the arm, an' I 
wur just a-tyin' it up as ye tummled in tliur. Who did 
"ee think this child wur ?' 

'I did not think you were any one. I took you for 
a grizzly bear.' 

'Ha! ha! ha! He! he! ho! I thort so, when I 
heard the click o' your pistol. He ! he ! he ! If ever 
I sets my peepers on Bill Garey agin, I'll make that 
niggur larf till his guts ache. Ole Eube tuk for a 

grizzly ! If that ain't Ha ! ha ! ha ! He ! he ! he ! 

Ho ! ho ! hoo !' 

And the old trapper chuckled at the conceit, as if 
He had just been witnessing some scene of amusement, 
and there was not an enemy within a hundred miles of 
him. 

' Did you see anything of Seguin ?' I asked, wishing 
to learn whether there was any probability that my 
friend still lived. 

' Hid I ? I did ; an' a sight that wur. Did ee iver 
see a catamount riz ?' 

' I believe I have,' said I. 

' Wal, that wur him. He wur in the shanty when 
it felled. So wur I m'self; but I wa'n't there long 
arter. I creeped out some'rs about the door ; an' jest 
then I seed the cap, hand to hand wi' an Injun in a 
stan'-up tussle : but it didn't last long. The cap gi'n 
him a sockdolloger some'rs about the ribs, an' the 
nigger went under ; he did.' 

' Eut what of Seguin ? Did you sec him after- 
wards ?' 

' Did I see him arterwards ? No ; I didn't, 

' I fear he is killed.' 

' That ain't likely, young fellur. He knows these 
diggins better'n any o' us ; an' he oughter know whur 
to cu 'her, I reckin. He's did that, I'll be boun'.' 



576 THE SCALP-HUNTEES. 

'Ay, if he would,' said I, thinking that Seguiu 
might have followed the captives, and thrown away 
his life recklessly. 

' Don't be skeert about him, young fellur. The cap 
ain't a-gwine to put his fingers into a bee's nest whui 
thur's no honey ; he ain't.' 

' But where could he have gone, when you did not 
see him afterwards ?' 

' Whur could he 'a gone ? Fifty ways he kud 'a 
gone through the brush. 1 didn't think o' lookin 
arter him. He left the Injun whur he had throw'd 
him, 'ithout raisin' the har ; so I stooped down to git 
it ; an' when I riz agin, he wa'n't thur no how. But 
that Injun wur. Lor' ! that Injun are some punkins ; 
he are.' 

' What Indian do you mean ?' 

' Him as jined us on the Del Nort ; the Coco. 

' El Sol ! what of him ? is he killed ?' 

' AVal, he aint, I reckin ; nor can't a be : that's this 
child's opeenyun o' it. He kim from under the ranche, 
arter it tumbled ; an' his fine dress looked as spick as 
ef it had been jest tuk out o' a bandy-box. Thur wur 
two at him, an', Lor ! how he fit them ! I tackled on 
to one o' them ahint, an' gin him a settler in the hump 
ribs ; but the way he finished the other wur a caution 
to Crockett. 'Twur the puttiest lick I ever seed in 
these hyur mountains, an' I've seed a good few, I 
reckin.' 

' How was it ? 

' 'Ee know, the Injun — that are, the Coco — fit wi' a 
hatchet ?' 

' Yes.' 

' Wal, then ; that ur's a desprit weepun, for them as 
•nows how to use it ; an' he diz ; that Injun diz. 
T'other had a hatchet, too, but he didn't keep it long. 



SMOKED OUT. 377 

Tvvur clinked out o' his hands in a minnit, an' then 
the Coco got a down blow at him. Wagh ! it wur a 
down blow, an' it wan't nuthin' else. It split the 
niggur's head chir down to the thrapple. 'Twus 
sep'rated into two halves as ef 't had been clove wi' a 
broad-axe ! Ef 'ee had 'a seed the varmint when he 
kim to the ground, ' ee'd "a thort he wur double- 
headed. Jest theu I spied the Injuns a-comin' down 
both sides o' the bluff; an' havin' neyther beast 
nor weepun, exceptin' a knife, this child tuk a notion 
'twa'n't safe to be thur any longer, an' cached; he 
did.' 



CHAPTEB XLIX, 

SMOKED OUT. 

Oue conversation had been carried on in a low tone, 
for the Indians still remained in front of the cave. 
Many others had arrived, and were examining the 
skull of the Canadian with the same looks of curiosity 
and wonderment that had been exhibited by their 
comrades. 

Eubo and I sat for some time in silence, watching 
them. The trapper had flitted near me, so that he 
could see out and talk in whispers. 

I was still apprehensive that the savages might 
6earch the cave. 

' 'Tain't likely, said my companion. ' They mout 
ef thur hadn't a' been so many o' these diggins. do 'eo 
see? Thur's a grist o' em — more'n a hundred — on 
t'other side ; an' most o' the men who got clur tuk 
furrer down. Tt's my notion the Injuns seed that, au 

2 B 



378 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

won't disturb Gee—zusl ef thur ain't that d- --t — n 

docjV 

I well understood the meaning of the fearful 
emphasis with which these last words were repeated. 
My eyes, simultaneously with those of the speaker, 
had fallen upon the dog Alp. He was running about 
in front of the cave. I saw at a glance he was search- 
ing for me. 

The next moment he had struck the trail where i 
had crawled through the cacti, and came running 
down in the direction of the cave. 

On reaching the body of the Canadian, which lay 
directly in his track, he stopped for a moment and ap- 
peared to examine it. Then, uttering a short yelp, 
he passed on to that of the doctor, where he made a 
similar demonstration. He ran several times from 
one to the other, but at length left them : and, with 
his nose once more to the ground, disappeared out of 
our view. 

His strange actions had attracted the attention of 
the savages, who, one and all, stood watching him. 

My companion and I were beginning to hope that 
he had lost me, when, to our dismay, he appeared a 
second time, coming down the trail as before. This 
time he leaped over the bodies, and the next moment 
sprang into the mouth of the cave. 

A yell from without told us that we were lost. 

~SVe endeavoured to drive the dog out again, and 
succeeded, Eube having wounded him with his knife ; 
but the wound itself, and the behaviour of the animal 
outside, convinced our enemies that some one was 
within the shaft. 

In a few seconds the entrance was darkened by a 
crowd of savages, shouting and yelling. 

'Now show yuv shootin', young fellur!' said my 



SMOKED OCT. 3 r , 9 

eonipunion. 'It's the new kind o' pistol 'ee hev got. 
Load every ber'l o' it.' 

' Shall I have time to load them?' 

' Plenty o : time. They ain't a-gwine to come ia 
'ithout a light. Thur gone for a torch to the shanty. 
Quick wi' yur ! Slap in the fodder ;' 

Without waiting to reply, I caught hold of my flask, 
and loaded the remaining five chambers of the re- 
volver. I had scarcely finished when ono of the 
Indians appeared in front with a flaming brand, and 
was about stooping into the mouth of the cavern. 

' Now's yur time,' cried Eube. ' Fetch the d — d 
niggur out o' his boots ! Fetch him !' 

I fired, and the savage, dropping the torch, fell 
dead upon the top of it ! 

An angry yell from without followed the report, and 
the Indians disappeared from the front. Shortly 
after, an arm was seen reaching in, and the dead body 
was drawn back out of the entrance. 

' What will they do next, think you V I inquired of 
my companion. 

' I can't tell adzactly yit ; but thur sick o' that 
game, I reckin. Load that ber'l agin. I guess we'll 
git a lot o' 'm afore we gins in. Cuss the luck ! that 
gun, Targuts ! Ef I only had that leetle piece hyur 
'Ee've got six shots, have 'ee? Good! 'Ee mout 
chock up the cave wi' their karkidges afore they kin 
reach us. It ur a great weepun, an' no mistakes. I 
seed the cap use it. Lor' ! how he made it tell on 
them niggurs i' the shanty ! Thur ain't many o' 
them about, I reckin. Load sure, young fellur! 
Thur's plenty o' time. They knows what you've got 
thur.' 

During all this dialogue none of the Indians made 
their appearance, but wo could hear them on both sidea 

2 b 2 



380 THE S0ALI>-HU..\TEltS. 

of the shaft, without. "We knew they were deliberat 
ing on what plan they would take to get at us. 

As Eube suggested, they seemed to be aware thai 
the shot had come from a revolver. Doubtless some 
of the survivors of the late fight had informed them 
of the fearful havoc that had been made among them 
with our pistols, and they dreaded to face them. 
What other plan would they adopt ? Starve lis out ? 

' They mout,' said Eube, in answer to my question, 
' 'an' kin if they try. Thur ain't a big show o' vittlin' 
hyur, 'ceptin' we chaw donnicks. But thur's anothei 
way, ef they only hev the gumshin to go about it, 
that'll git us sooner than starvin'. Ha!' ejaculated 
the speaker, with emphasis. 'I thort so. Thur a- 
gwine to smoke us. Look 'ee yander !' 

I looked forth. At a distance T saw several Indians 
coming in the direction of the cafe, carrying large 
bundles of brushwood. Their intention was evident. 

'But can they do this?' I inquired, doubting the 
possibility of our enemies being able to effect their 
purpose in that way ; ' can we not bear the smoke ?' 

'Bar it! Yur green, young fellur. Do 'ee know 
what sort o' brush thur a-toatin' yander?' 

'No,' said I; 'what is it?' 

' It ur the stink-plant, then ; an' the stinkinest 
plant 'ee ever smelt, I reckin. The smoke o' it ucf 
choke a skunk out o' a persimmon log. I tell 'ee, 
young 'un, we'll eyther be smoked out or smothered 
whur we are ; an' this child hain't fit Injun for thirty 
yeern or better, to go under that a-way. When it 
gets to its wui'st Tm a-gwine to make a rush. That's 
what J'm a-gwine ter do, young fellui . 

' But how ?' I asked hurriedly ; ' how shall we act 
then?' 

' How ? Yur game to the toes, ain't J ee ?' 



SMOKED OUT. 381 

* 1 am willing to fight to the last." 

' Wal, then, hyur's how, an' the only how :— When 
they've raised the smoke so that they can't see us a- 
comin,' we'll streak it out among 'em. You hev the 
pistol, an' kin go fo'most. Shoot every d — d niggur 
that clutches at ye, an' run like blazes ! I'll foller 
clost on yur heels. If we kin oncest git through the 
thick o' 'em, we mout make the brush, an' creep under 
it to the big caves on t'other side. Them caves jines 
one another, an' we mout dodge them thur. I seed 
the time this 'cocn kud 'n;n a bit, but these hyur 
jeints ain't as soople as they wur oncest. We kin 
try neverthemless ; an' mind, young fellur, it's our 
only chance : do 'ee hear?' 

I promised to follow the directions that my never- 
despairing companion had given mo. 

' They won't get ole Eube's scalp yit, they won't. 
He! he! he!' 

I turned towards him. The man was actually 
laughing at this wild and strangely-timed jest. It 
was awful to hear him. 

Several armfuls of brush were now thrown into 
the mouth of the cave. I saw that it was the creosote 
plant : the ideodundo. 

It was thrown upon the still blazing torch, and 
soon caught, sending up a thick black smoke. More 
was piled on ; and the fetid vapour, impelled by some 
influence from without, began to reach our nostrils 
and lungs, causing an almost instantaneous feeling 
of sickness and suffocation. I could not have borne 
it long. I did not stay to try how long, for at that 
moment I heard Eube crying oat — 

" Now's your time, voung fellur ! Out, and gi' them 
Si— 11!' 

With a feeling of desperate resolve, I clutched my 



382 THE SCALl'-HUKTKES. 

pistol and dashed though the smoking brushwood. 1 
neard a wild and deafening shout. I saw a crowd of 
men — of fiends. I saw spears, and tomahawks, and 
/ed knives raised, and 



CHAPTER L. 

A XOVEL MODE OF EQUITATION". 

When consciousness returned, I found that I was 
lying on the ground, and my dog, the innocent cause 
of my captivity, was licking my face. I could not 
have been long senseless, for the savages were still 
gesticulating violently around me. One was waving 
them back. I recognised him. It was Dacoma ! 

The chief uttered a short harangue that seemed to 
quiet the warriors. I coidd not tell what he said, but 
I heard him use frequently the word Quetzalcoatl. 1 
knew that this was the name of their god, but I did 
not understand, at the time, what the saving of my 
life could have to do with him. 

I thought that Dacoma was protecting me from 
gome feeling of pity or gratitude, and I endeavoured 
to recollect whether I had shown him any special 
act of kindness during his captivity. I had sadly 
mistaken the motives of that splendid savage. 

My head felt sore. Had they scalped me ? "With 
the thought I raised my hand, passing it over my 
crown. Xo. My favourite brown curls were still 
there ; but there was a deep cut along the back of 
my head — the dent of a tomahawk. I had been 
etruck from behind as I came out, and before I could 
fire a single bullet. 



A NOVEL MODE OF EQUITATION. 383 

"Wtiere was Kube? I raised myself a little and 
Looked around. He was not to be seen anywhere. 

Had he escaped, as he intended ? No ; it would 
have been impossible for any man, with only a knife, 
to have fought his way through so many. Moreover, 
I did not observe any commotion among the savages, 
as if an enemy had escaped them. None seemed to 

have gone off from the spot. What then had ? 

Ha ! I now understood, in its proper sense, Kubc's 
jest about his scalp. It was not a double entendre, 
but a mot of triple ambiguity. 

The trapper, instead of following me, had remained 
quietly in his den, where, no doubt, he was at that 
moment watching me, his scape-goat, and chuckling 
at his own escape. 

The Indians, never dreaming that there were two 
of ns in tk# cave, and satisfied that it was now empty, 
made no farther attempts to ' smoke ' it. 

I was not likely to undeceive them. I knew that 
Eube's death or capture could not have benefited me ; 
but I could not help reflecting on the strange strata- 
gem by which the old fox had saved himself. 

I was not allowed much time for reflection. Two 
of the savages, seizing me by the arms, dragged me 
up to the still blazing ruin. Oh, heavens ! was it 
for this Dacoma had saved me from their toma^ 
hawks ? for this, the most cruel of deaths ! 

They proceeded to tie me hand and foot. Several 
others were around, submitting to the same treatment. 
I recognised Sanchez the bull-fighter and the red- 
haired Irishman. There were three others of the 
band, whose names 1 had never learnt. 

We were in an open space in front of tho burning 
*anche. We could see all that was going on. 

The Indians wero clearing it of the fallen and 



38 -i THE SL'ALr-HUNTERS. 

charred timbers, to get at the bodies of their friends 
I watched their proceedings with less interest, as 1 
bow knew that Seguin was not there. 

It was a horrid spectacle when the rubbish was 
cleared away, laying bare the floor of the ruin. Moro 
than a dozen bodies lay upon it, half baked, half 
roasted ! Their dresses were burned off ; but by 
the parts that remained still intact from the fire, we 
could easily recognise to what party each had belonged. 
The greater number of them were Navajoes. There 
were also the bodies of hunters smoking inside their 
cindery shirts. I thought of Garey ; but, as far as 1 
could judge, he was not among them. 

There were no scalps for the Indians to take. The 
fire had been before them, and had not left a hail 
upon the heads of their dead foemen. 

Seemingly mortified at this, they lifted the bodies 
of the hunters, and tossed them once more into the 
flames that were still blazing up from the piled rafters. 
They gathered the knives, pistols, and tomahawks tha+ 
lay among the ashes ; and carrying what remained of 
their own people out of the ruin, placed them in front. 
They then stood around them in a circle, and with 
loud voices chanted a chorus of vengeance. 

During all this proceeding we lay where we had 
been thrown, guarded by a dozen savages. We were 
filled with fearful apprehensions. We saw the firo 
still blazing, and we saw that the half-burnt bodies 
of our late comrades had been thrown upon it. We 
dreaded a similar fate for our own. 

But we soon found that we were reserved for some 
other purpose. Six mules were brought up, and upon 
these we were mounted in a novel fashion. We were 
first set astride on the bare backs, with our faces 
turned tailwards. Our feet were then drawn under 



A NOVEL MODE OF EQUITATION. 386 

the necks of the animals, where our ankles wero 
closely corded together. We were next compelled 
to bend down our bodies until we lay along the backs 
of the mules, our chins resting on their rumps. In 
this position our arms were drawn down until our 
hands met underneath, where they were tied tightly 
by the wrists. 

The attitude was painful ; and to add to this, our 
mules, not used to be thus ' packed,' kicked and 
plunged over the ground, to the great mirth of our 
captors. 

This cruel sport was kept up even after the mules 
themselves had got tired of it, by the savages prick- 
ing the animals with their spears, and placing branches 
of the cactus under their tails. We were fainting 
when it ended. 

Our captors now divided themselves into two parties, 
and started up the barranca, taking opposite sides. 
One went with the Mexican captives and the girls 
and children of the tribe. The larger party, under 
Dacoma — now head chief, for the other had been 
killed in the conflict — guarded us. 

We were carried up that side on which was the 
spring, and, arriving at the water, were halted for 
the night. We were taken off the mules and securely 
tied to one another, our guards watching us without 1 
uterinission till morning. We were then 'packed 
a,s before and carried westward across the desert. 



3 >8fi ) 



CHArTEE LI. 

A FAST r/XE. 

Aftj:k a four clays' journey, painful even to be remem- 
bered, we re-entered the valley of Xavajo. The other 
captives, along -with the great caballada, had arrived 
before us ; and we saw the plundered cattle scattered 
over the plain. 

As we approached the town, we were met by crowds 
of women and children, far more than we had seen on 
our former visit. These were guests, who had come 
in from other villages of the Navajoes that lay farthe T 
to the north. They were there to witness the tri- 
umphant return of the warriors, and partake of the 
great feast that always follows a successful foray. 

I noticed many white faces among them, with fea- 
tures of the Iberian race. They had been captives ; 
they were now the wives of warriors. They were 
dressed like the others, and seemed to participate in 
the general joy. They, like Seguin's daughter, had 
been Indianised. 

There were many Mestizoes, half-bloods, the descen- 
dants of Indians and their Mexican captives, the off- 
spring of many a Sabine wedding. 

We were carried through the streets, and out to the 
western side of the village. The crowd followed us 
with mingled exclamations of triumph, hatred, and 
curiosity. At the distance of a hundred yards or so 
from the houses, and close to the river bank, our 
guards drew up. 

I had turned my eyes on all sides as we passed 
Jirough, as well as my awkward position woiJd per- 



A FAST DYE. 387 

mit. I could see nothing of her, or any of the female 
captives. Where could they be? Perhaps in the 
temple. 

This building stood on the opposite side of the town, 
and the houses prevented me from seeing it. Its top 
only was visible from the spot where we had been 
halted. 

We were untied and taken down. We were happy 
at being relieved from the painful attitude in which 
vre had ridden all the way. We congratulated our- 
selves that we should now be allowed to sit upright. 
Our self-congratulation was brief. We soon found 
that the change was ' from the frying-pan into the 
fire.' We were only to be ' turned.' We had hitherto 
lain upon our bellies ; we were now to be laid upon 
our backs. 

In a few moments the change was accomplished, 
our captors handling us as unceremoniously as though 
we had been inanimate things. Indeed we were 
nearly so. 

We were spread upon the green turf on our backs. 
Around each man four long pins were driven into the 
ground, in the form of a parallelogram. Our arms 
and legs were stretched out to their widest, and raw 
hide-thongs were looped about our wrists and ankles. 
These were passed over the pins, and drawn so tightly 
that our joints cracked with the cruel tension. Thus 
we lay, faces upturned, like so many hides spread out 
to be sun-dried. 

We were placed in two ranks, ' endways,' in such a 
manner that the heads of the front-rank men rested 
between the feet of their respective ' rears.' As there 
•vere six of us in all, we formed three files, with short 
uitervals between. 

Our attitudes and fastenings left us without the 



ASS IHli, scai,l*-iidnt;.R8. 

power of nnving a limb. The only member over 
which we had any control was tlie head ; and this, 
thanks to the flexibility of our necks, we could turn 
about, so as to see what was going on in front or on 
sither side of us. 

As soon as we were fairly staked down, T had the 
curiosity to raise my head and look around me. I 
found that I was ' rear rank, right file,' and that my 
file leader was the qi-devint soldier O'Cork. 

The Indian guards, after having stripped us of most 
of our clothing, left us ; and the girls and squaws now 
began to crowd around. I noticed that they were 
gathering in front of my position, and forming a dense 
circle around the Irishman. I was struck with their 
ludicrous gestures, their strange exclamations, and 
the puzzled expression of their countenances. 

' Ta — yah ! Ta — yah !' cried they, and the whole 
crowd burst into shrill screams of laughter. 

What could it mean? Barney was evidently tho 
subject of their mirth ; but what was there about him 
to cause it, more than about any of the rest of us ? 

I raised my head to ascertain : the riddle was solved 
at once. One of the Indians, in going oif, had taken 
the Irishman's cap with him, and the little round red 
head was exposed to view. It lay midway between 
my feet, like a luminous ball, and I saw that it wan 
the object of diversion. 

By degrees, the squaws drew nearer, until they 
were huddled up in a thick crowd around the body oi 
our comrade. At length one of them stooped and 
touched the head, drawing back her fingers with a 
start and a gesture, as though she had burned them. 

This elicited fresh peals of laughter, and very soon 
all the women of the village were around tho Irish- 
man, ' scroodging ' one another to get a closer view 



A FAST DYE. 389 

None of the rest of us were heeded, except to be liber- 
ally trampled upon ; and half-a-dozen big heavy 
squaws were standing upon my limbs, the better to 
see over one another's shoulders. 

As there was no great stock of petticoats to curtain 
the view, I could still see the Irishman's head gleam- 
ing like a meteor through the forest of ankles. 

After a while the squaws grew less delicate in their 
touch ; and catching hold of the short stiff bristles, 
endeavoured to pluck them out, all the while scream- 
ing with laughter. 

I was neither in the state of mind nor the attitude 
to enjoy a joke ; but there was a language in the back 
of Barney's head, an expression of patient endurance, 
that would have drawn smiles from a gravedigger; 
and Sanchez and the others were laughing aloud. 

For a long time our comrade endured the infliction 
and remained silent ; but at length it became too 
painful for his patience, and he began to speak out. 

' Arrah, now, girls,' said he, in a tone of good-hu- 
moured entreaty, 'will yez be aizy? Did yez niver 
see rid hair afore ?' 

The squaws, on hearing the appeal, which of course 
they understood not, only showed their white teeth in 
loud laughter. 

' In trath, an' iv I had yez on the sod, at the owld 
Cove o' Cark beyant, I cud show yez as much av it as 
'ud contint ye for yer lives. Arrah, now, keep aff me I 
Be the powers, ye're trampin' the toes aff me feet ! 
Ach ! don't rug me ! Holy Mother ! will yez let mo 
alone ? Divil resave ye for a set of ' 

The tone in which the last words were uttered 
showed that O'Cork had at length lost his temper; 
but this only increased the assiduity of his tormentors, 
whose mirtb now broke beyond bounds. Thou 



390 THE SCALP HUNTERS 

'plucked' him harder than ever, yelling all the while 
so that, although he continued to scold, T could only 
hear him at intervals ejaculating — ' Mother av Moses !' 
' Tare-an-ages !' 'Holy vistment!' and a variety of 
similar exclamations. 

This scene continued for several minutes ; and then, 
all at once, there was a lull, and a consultation among 
the women, that told us they were devising some 
scheme. 

Several girls were sent off to the houses. These 
presently returned, bringing a large olla, and another 
vessel of smaller dimensions. What did they intend 
to do with these ? We soon learned. 

The olla was filled with water from the adjacent 
stream, and carried up, and the smaller vessel was set 
down beside Barney's head. We saw that it contained 
the yucca soap of the Northern Mexicans. They were 
going to wash out the red! 

The Irishman's hand-stays were now loosened, so 
that he could sit upright ; and a copious coat of the 
' 6oft soap ' was laid on his head, completely covering 
the hair. A couple of sinewy squaws then took hold 
of him by the shoulders, and with bunches of bark 
fibres applied the water, and scrubbed it in lustily. 

The application seemed to be anything but pleasant 
to Barney, who roared out, ducking his head on all 
sides to avoid it. But this did not serve him. One of 
the squaws seized the head between her hands, and 
held it steady, while the other set to it afresh and 
rubbed harder than ever. 

The Indians yelled and danced around : but in the 
midst of all I could hear Barney sneezing, and shout- 
ing in a smothered voice — 

' Holy Mother ! — htch-tch ! Yez may rub — tch- 
itch! — till yez fetch-tch the skin aff— atch-ich-icb. ! 



A FAST DYE. 391 

Jin' it won't — tscztsh! — come out. 1 tell yez — itch- 
ch ! it's in the grain — itch-itch ! It won't come out 
—itch-itch ! — be me sowl it won't — atch-itch-hitch !' 

But the poor fellow's expostulations were in vain. 
The scrubbing continued, with fresh applications of 
the yucca, for ten minutes or more ; and then the great 
olla was lifted, and its contents dashed upon his head 
and shoulders. 

What was the astonishment of the women to find 
that instead of modifying the red colour, it only showed 
forth, if possible, more vivid than ever ! 

Another olla of water was lifted, and soused about 
the Irishman's ears, but with no better effect. 

Barney had not had such a washing for many a day ; 
at least, not since he had been under the hands of the 
regimental barber. 

When the squaws saw that, in spite of all their 
efforts, the dye still stuck fast, they desisted, and our 
comrade was again staked down. His bed was not so 
dry as before ; neither was mine, for the water had 
saturated the ground about us, and we lay in mud. 
But this was a small vexation, compared with many 
others we were forced to put up with. 

For a long time the Indian women and children 
clustered around us, each in turn minutely examin- 
ing the head of our comrade. We, too, came in for a 
share of their curiosity; but O'Cork was 'the 
elephant.' 

They had seen hair like ours oftentimes upon their 
Mexican captives ; but, beyond a doubt, Barney's was 
the first red poll that had ever been scratched in the 
valley of Navajoa. 

Darkness came on at length, and the squaws re- 
turned to the village, leaving us in charge of the guards^ 
Who all the night sat watchfully beside. 



i 892 ) 



CHAPTEE LH. 

ASTONISHING THE NATIVEB. 

Ifp to this time we had no knowledge of the fate that 
was designed for us ; but, from all that we had ever 
heard of these savages, as well as from our own ex- 
perience of them, we anticipated that it would be a 
cruel one. 

Sanchez, however, who knew something of their 
language, left us no room to doubt such a result. He 
had gathered from the conversation of the women 
what was before us. After these had gone away, he 
unfolded the programme as he had heard it. 

; To-morrow,' said he, ' they will dance the maman- 
chic —the great dance of Moctezuma. That is a fete 
among the girls and women. Next day will be a grand 
tournament, in which the warriors will exhibit their 
skill in shooting with the bow, in wrestling, and feats 
of horsemanship. If they would let me join them, I 
could show them how.' 

Sanchez, besides being an accomplished torero, had 
6pent his earlier years in the circus, and was, as we 
all knew, a most splendid horseman. 

' On the third day,' continued he, ' we are to " run 
amuck," if you know what that is.' 

We had all heard of it. 

' And on the fourth ' 

'Well? upon the fourth?' 

' They ivill roast us !' 

We might have been more startled at this abrupt 
declaration had the idea been new to us, but it was 



ASTONISHING THE NATIVES. 393 

not. The probability of such an end had been in our 
thoughts ever since our capture. We knew that they 
did not save us at the mine for the purpose of giving 
us an easier death; and we knew, too, that these 
ravages never made men prisoners to keep them alive. 
Rube was an exception ; but his story was a peculiar 
one, and he escaped only by his extreme cunning. 
' Their god,' continued Sanchez, ' is the same as that 
of the Mexican Aztecs ; for these people are of that 
race, it is believed. I don't know much about that, 
though I've heard men talk of it. He is called by a 
devil of a hard name. Carrail I don't remember it.' 

' Quetzalcoatl ?' 

' Caval ! that's the word. Pues, senores ; he is a 
flre-god, and fond of human flesh ; prefers it roasted, 
so they say. That's the use we'll be put to. They'll 
roast us to please him, and at the same time to satisfy 
themselves. Dos pajaros al un golpe .'' (two birds with 
one stone.) 

That this was to be our fate was no longer probable 
but certain ; and we slept upon the knowledge of it the 
best way we could. 

In the morning we observed dressing and painting 
among the Indians. After that began dancing, the 
dance of the mamancMc. 

This ceremony took place upon the prairie, at some 
distance out in front of the temple. 

As it was about commencing, we were taken from 
our spread positions and dragged up near it, in order 
that we might witness the ' glory of the nation.' 

We were still tied, however, but allowed to sit up- 
right. This was some relief, and we enjoyed the 
change of posture much more than the spectacle. 

I could not describe the dance even if I had watched 
.t which I did not. As Sanchez had said, it was 

'Z a 



SS4 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

carried on only by the •women of the tribe. Proces- 
sions of young girls, gaily and fantastically attired, 
and carrying garlands of flowers, circled and leaped 
through a variety of figures. There was a raised 
platform, upon which a warrior and maiden represented 
Moctezuma and his queen, and around these the gills 
danced and chanted. The ceremony ended by the 
dancers kneeling in front, in a grand semicircle. I 
saw that the occupants of the throne were Dacoma 
and Adele. I fancied that the girl looked sad. 

' Poor Seguin !' thought I ; " there is none to 
protect her now. Even the false father, the medicine 
chief, might have been her friend. He too is out of 
the way, and ' 

But I did not occupy much time with thoughts of 
her : there was a far more painful apprehension than 
that. My mind, as well as my eyes, had dwelt upon 
the temple during the ceremony. We could see it 
from the spot where we had been thrown down ; but 
it was too distant for me to distinguish the faces of 
the whito females that were clustered along its 
terraces. She no doubt was among them, but I was 
unable to make her out. Perhaps it was better I was 
not near enough. I thought so at the time. 

I saw Indian men among the captives ; and I had 
observed Dacoma, previous to the commencement ot 
the dance, proudly standing before them in all the 
paraphernalia of his regal robes. 

Rube had given mo the character of this chief 1 
brave, but brutal and licentious. My heart was op- 
pressed with a painful heaviness as we were hurried 
back to our former places. 

Most of the next night was spent by the Indians in 
feasting. Not so with us. We were rarely and 
scantily fed ; and we suffered, too, from thirst, our 



ASTONISHING THE NATIVES. 395 

savage guards scarcely deigning to supply us with 
water, though a river was running at our feet. 

Another morning, and the feasting recommenced. 
More sheep and cattle were slaughtered, and the fires 
Bteamod anew with the red joints that were suspended 
over them. 

At an early hour the warriors arrayed themselves, 
though not in war attire, and the tournament com- 
menced. 

We were again dragged forward to witness their 
savage sports, but placed still farther out on the 
prairie. 

I could distinguish, upon the terrace of the temple, 
the whitish dresses of the captives. The temple was 
their place of abode. 

Sanchez had told me this. lie had heard it from 
the Indians as they conversed one with anothei. 
The girls were to remain there until the fifth day, 
that after our sacrifice. Then the chief would choose 
one of the number for his own household, and the 
warriors would ' gamble ' for the rest ! Oh, these 
were fearful hours ! 

Sometimes I wished that I could see her again 
once before I died. And then reflection whispered 
me, it was better not. The knowledge of my fate 
would only add fresh bitterness to hers. Oh ! these 
were fearf ul hours ! 

I looked at the savage tournament. There were 
featB of arms and feats of equitation. Men rode at a 
gallop, with one foot only to be seen over the horse, 
and in this attitude threw the javelin or shot the 
unerring shaft. Others vaulted from horse to horse, 
as they swept over the prairie at racing speed. 
Some leaped to their saddles while their horses were 
running at a gallop, and some exhibited feats with 

2 o 2 



396 THE SCAU'-HUNTERS. 

the lasso. Then there was a mock encounter, in 
which the warriors unhorsed each other, as knights of 
the olden time. 

It was, in fact, a magnificent spectacle: a grand 
hippodrome of the desert ; but I had no eyes for it. 

It had more attraction for Sanchez. I saw that he 
was observing every new feat with interested attention. 
All at once he became restless. There was a strange 
expression on his face : some thought, some sudden 
resolve, had taken possession of him. 

' Say to your braves,' said he, speaking to one of 
our guards in the Navajo tongue ; ' say that I can 
beat the best of them at that. I could teach them to 
ride a horse.' 

The savage reported what his prisoner had said, and 
shortly after several mounted warriors rode up, and 
replied to the taunt. 

' You ! a poor white slave, ride with the warriors of 
Navajo! Ha! ha! ha!' 

' Can you ride upon your head r" inquired the 
torero. 

' On our heads ? How ?' 

' Standing upon your head while your horse is in a 
gallop.' 

' No ; nor you, nor any one. "We are the best riders 
on the plains ; we cannot do that.' 

' I can,' affirmed the bull-fighter with emphasis. 

' He is boasting ! he is a fool,' shouted several. 

' Let us see !' cried one. ' Give him a horse ; there 
is no danger.' 

' Give me my own horse, and I will show you.' 

' Which is your horse ?' 

' None of them now, I suppose ; but bring me that 
spotted mustang, and clear me a hundred lengths of 
him on the prairie, and I 6hall teach you a trick.' 



ASTONISHING THE NATIVES. 397 

As I looked to ascertain what horse Sanchez meant, 
I saw the mustang which he had ridden from the Del 
Norte. I noticed my own favourite, too, browsing 
with the rest. 

After a short consultation among themselves, the 
torero's request was acceded to. The horse he had 
pointed out was lassoed out of the caballada and 
brought up, and our comrade's thongs were taken off. 
The Indians had no fear of his escaping. They knew 
that they could soon overtake such a steed as the 
spotted mustang ; moreover, there was a picket 
constantly kept at each entrance of the valley. Even 
could he beat them across the plains, it would be im- 
possible for him to get out to the open country. The 
valley itself was a prison. 

Sanchez was not long in making his pi eparations. 
He strapped a buffalo-skin tightly on the back of his 
horse, and then led him round for some time in a circle 
keeping him in the same track. 

After practising thus for a while, he dropped the 
bridle and uttered a peculiar cry, on hearing which 
the animal fell into a slow gallop around tho circle. 
When the horse had accomplished two or three rounds, 
the torero leaped upon his back, and performed the 
well-known feat of riding on his head. 

Although a common one among professional eques- 
trians, it was new to the Navajoes, who looked on with 
shouts of wonder and admiration. They caused the 
torero to repeat it again and again, until the spotted 
mustang had become all of one colour. 

Sanchez, however, did not leave off until he had 
given his spectators the full programme of the ' ring,' 
and had fairly ' astonished the natives.' 

When the tom-nament was ended, and we were 
'hauled' back to the river side, the torero was no* 



398 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

with us. Fortunate Sanchez ! He had won his life! 
Henceforth he was to be riding-master to the Navajo 
nation ! 



CHAPTEE LIU. 

RUNNING AMUCK. 

Another day came : our day for action. Wo saw our 
enemies making their preparations ; we saw them go 
off to the woods, and return bringing clubs freshly 
cut from the trees ; we saw them dress as for ball- 
play or running. 

At an early hour we were taken forward to the front 
of the temple. On arriving there, I cast my eyes up- 
ward to the terrace. My betrothed was above me ; 1 
was recognised. 

There was mud upon my scanty garments, and spots 
of blood ; there was dust on my hair ; there were scars 
upon my arms ; my face and throat were stained with 
powder, blotches of black burnt powder : in spite of 
all, I was recognised. The eyes of love saw through 
all! 

1 find no scene in all my experience so difficult to 
describe as this. Why ? There was none so terrible ; 
none in which so many wild emotions were crowded 
into a moment. A love like ours, tantalised by proxi- 
mity, almost within reach of each other's embrace, 
yet separated by relentless fate, and that for ever ; 
the knowledge of each other's situation ; the certainty 
of my death and her dishonour : these and a hundred 
kindred thoughts rushed into our hearts together. 
They could not be detailed ; they cannot he described ; 



RUNNING AMUCK. 399 

words ■will not express them. Yon may summon 
fancy to your aid. 

I heard her screams, her wild words and wilder 
weeping. I saw her snowy cheek and streaming 
hair, as, frantic, she rushed forward on the parapet as 
if to spring out. I witnessed her struggles as she was 
drawn back by her fellow-captives ; and then, all at 
once, she was quiet in their arms. She had fainted, 
and was borne out of my sight. 

I was tied by the wrists and ankles. During the 
scene I had twice risen to my feet, forced up by my 
■emotions, but only to fall down again. 

I made no further effort, but lay upon the ground in 
the agony of impotence. 

It was but a short moment ; but, oh ! the feelings 
that passed over my soul in that moment ! It was the 
.compressed misery of a lifetime. 



For a period of perhaps half-an-hour I regarded not 
what was going on around me. My mind was not 
abstracted, but paralysed : absolutely dead. I had 
no thoughts about anything. 

I awoke at length from this stupor. I saw that 
the savages had completed their preparations for the 
■cruel sport. 

Two rows of men extended across the plaintoadis« 
lance of several hundred yards. They were armed with 
•clubs, and stood facing each other with an interval 
•of three or four paces between their ranks. Down 
the Interval we were to run, receiving blows from 
■every one who could give them as we passed. Should 
any of us succeed in running through the whole line, 
■and reach the mountain foot before we could be ovei- 
8a ken, tlie J>r;—uisc was that our lives should be spared! 



400 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

' Is this true, Sanchez ?' I whispered to the torevo 1 
who was standing near rue. 

' No,' was the reply, given also in a whisper. ' It 
is only a trick to make you run the better and show 
them the more sport. You are to die all the same. 
I heard them say so.' 

Indeed, it would have been slight grace had they 
given us our lives on such conditions ; for it would 
have been impossible for the strongest and swiftest 
men to have passed through between their lines. 

'Sanchez!' I said again, addressing the torero, 
'Seguin was your friend. You will do all you can 
for her ?' 

Sanchez well knew whom I meant. 

' I will ! I will !' he replied, seeming deeply affected 

' Brave Sanchez ! tell her how I felt for her. No r 
no, you need not tell her that.' 

I scarce knew what I was saying. 

' Sanchez !' I again whispered — a thought that had 
been in my mind now returning — ' could you not — a 
knife, a weapon — anything — could you not drop one- 
when I am set loose ?' 

' It would be of no use. You could not escape if 
you had fifty.' 

It may be that I could not. I would try. At the 
worst, I can but die ; and better die with a weapon in 
my hands !' 

'It would be better, muttered the torero in reply. 
' 1 will try to help you to a weapon, but my life may 

be he paused. 'If you look behind you,' he* 

continued in a significant manner, while he appeared 
to examine the tops of the distant mountains, ' you may 
Bee a tomahawk. I think it is held carelessly. It 
might be snatched.' 

I understood his meaning, and stole a glance around. 



Kl/XNINff AMUCK. 4«>| 

Dacoma was at a few paces' distance, superintending 
the start. I saw the weapon in his belt. It was 
loosely stuck. It might he snatched ! 

I possess extreme tenacity of life, with energy to- 
preserve it. I have not illustrated this energy in the- 
adventures through which we have passed ; for, up to 
a late period, I was merely a passive spectator of the 
scenes enacted, and in general disgusted with their 
enactment. But at other times I have proved the 
existence of those traits in my character. In the 
lield of battle, to my knowledge, I have saved my 
life three times by the quick perception of danger 
and the promptness to ward it off. Either less or more 
brave, I should have lost it. Tbis may seem an 
enigma ; it appears a puzzle : it is an experience. 

In my earlier life I was addicted to what are termed 
' manly sports.' In running and leaping I never met 
my superior ; and my feats in such exercises are stilt 
recorded in the memories of my college companions. 

Do not wrong me, and think that I am boasting of 
these peculiarities. The first is but an accident in 
my mental character ; and others are only rude ac- 
complishments, which now, in my more matured life 
I see but little reason to be proud of. I mentiou 
them only to illustrate what follows. 

Ever since the hour of my capture I had busied my 
mind with plans of escape. Not the slightest oppor- 
tunity had as yet offered. All along the journey wo 
had been guarded with the most zealous vigilance. 

During this last night a new plan had occupied me. 
It had been suggested by seeing Sanchez upon hi* 
horse. 

I had matured it all except getting possession of a 
weapon ; and I had hopes of escape, although I had 
Eeither time nor opportunity to detail them to th* 



WJ1 THE SCiir-DUS T TERS. 

torero. It wjuld have served no purpose to have 
told him them. 

I knew that I miglit escape, even without the wea- 
pon; but I needed it, in case there might be in the 
tribe a faster runner than myself. I might be killed 
in the attempt ; that was likely enough ; but I knew 
that death could not come in a worse shape than that 
in which I was to meet it on the morrow. Weapon 
or no weapon. T ws resolved to escape, or die in 
attempting it. 

I saw them untying O'Cork. He was to run first. 

There was a circle of savages around the starting 
point ; old men and idlers of the village, who stood 
there only to witness the sport. 

There was no apprehension of our escaping : that 
was never thought of ; an enclosed valley, with guards 
at each entrance ; plenty of horses standing close by, 
that could be mounted in a few minutes. It would 
be impossible for any of us to get away from the 
ground. At least, so thought they. 

O'Cork started. 

Poor Barney ! His race was not a long one. He 
had not run ten paces down the living avenue when 
he was knocked over, and carried back, bleeding and 
senseless amidst the yells of the delighted crowd. 

Another of the men shared a similar fate, and 
another ; and then they unbound me. 

I rose to my feet, and, during the short interval 
allowed me, stretched my limbs, imbuing my soul and 
body with all the energy that my desperate circura- 
Btances enabled me to concentrate within them. 

The signal was again given for the Indians to be 
ready, and they were soon in their places, brandish- 
ing their long clubs, and impatiently waiting for me 
to make the start. 



RUNNING AMUCK. 403 

Dace ma was behind me. With a side glance I had 
marked well where he stood; and backing towards 
him, nnder pretence of getting a fairer 'break,' 1 
came close up to the savage. Then suddenly wheel- 
ing, with the spring of a cat and the dexterity of a 
thief, I caught the tomahawk and jerked it from his 
belt. 

I aimed a blow, but in my hurry missed him. I had 
no time for another. 1 turned and ran. He was so 
taken by surprise tha^ I was out of his reach before 
he could make a motion to follow me. 

I ran, not for the open avenue, but to one tside of 
the circle of spectators, where were the old men and 
idlers. 

These had drawn their hand weapons, and were 
closing towards me in a thick rank. Instead of en- 
deavouring to break through them, which I doubted 
my ability to accomplish, I threw all my energy into 
the spring, and leaped clear over their shoulders. 
Two or three stragglers struck at me as I passed 
them, but missed their aim ; and the next moment 
I was out upon the open plain, with the whole village 
yelling at my heels. 

I well knew for what I was running. Had it not 
been for that, I should never have made the start. 1 
was running for the cabaUada. 

I was running, too, for my life, and I required no 
encouragement to induce me to make the best of it. 

I soon distanced those who had been nearest me at 
starting ; but the swiftest of the Indians were the 
young men who had formed the lines, and I saw that 
these were now forging ahead of the others. 

Still they were not gaining upon me. My school 
training stood me in service now. 

After a mile's ehn«\ I saw that I was within loss 



104 TJIE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

than half tb at distance of the caballada, and at least 
three hundred yards a-head of my pursuers ; but to 
my horror, as I glanced back, I saw mounted men? 
They were still far behind, but I knew they would 
soon come up. Was it possible he could hear me ? 

I knew that in these elevated regions sounds are 
heard twice the ordinary distance ; and I shouted, 
at the top of my voice, ' Moro ! Moro !' 

I did not halt, but ran on, calling as I went. 

I saw a sudden commotion among the horses. Their 
heads were tossed up, and then one dashed out from 
the drove and came galloping towards me. I knew 
the broad black chest and red muzzle. I knew them 
at a glance. It was my brave steed : my Moro ! 

The rest followed, trooping after ; but before they 
were up to trample me, I had met my horse, and 
flung myself, panting, upon his back ! 

I had no rein ; but my favourite was used io th» 
guidance of my voice, hands, and knees ; and direct- 
ing him through the herd, I headed for the western 
end of the valley. I heard the yells of the mounted 
savages as I cleared the caballada ; and looking back, 
1 saw a string of twenty or more coming after me as 
fast as their horses could gallop. 

But I had no fear of them now. I knew my Moro 
too well; and after I had cleared the ten miles of 
Talley, and was springing up the steep front cf the 
sierra, I saw my pursuers still back upon the plain, 
at a distance of ten miles 



< 40.5 ) 



CHAPTEE LIV 

A CONFLICT UPON A CUFF. 

My horse, idle for days, had recovered his full action, 
and bore me up the rocky path with proud springy 
step. My nerves drew vigour from his, and the 
strength of my body was fast returning. It was well. 
I would soon be called upon to use it. The picket ivas 
still to be passed. 

While escaping from the town, in the excitement of 
the more proximate peril I had not thought of this 
ulterior one. I now remembered it. It flashed upon 
me of a sudden, and I commenced gathering my reso- 
lution to meet it. 

I knew there was a picket upon the mountain 
Sanchez had said so ; he had heard them say so. What 
number of men composed it ; Sanchez had said two, 
but he was not certain of this. Two would be enough 
more than enough for me, still weak, and armed as 1 
was with a weapon in the use of which I had little 
skill. 

How would they be armed ? Doubtless with bows, 
lances, tomahawks, and knives. The odds were all 
against me. 

At what point should I find them? They were 
videttes. Their chief duty was to watch the plains 
without. They would be at some station, then, com- 
manding a view of these. 

I remembered the road well ; the same by which we 
had first entered the valley. There was a platform 
near the western brow of the sierra. I recollected it, for 
we had halted upon it while our guide went forward 



t'Jfc) THK SCALP-HUNTERS. 

to reconnoitre. A cliff overhung this platform, fc 
remembered that too ; for during the absence of th« 
guide, Seguin and I bad dismounted and climbed it. 
It commanded a view of the whole outside country to 
the south and west. No doubt, then, on that very 
cliff would the videttes be stationed. 

Would they be on its top ? If so, it might be best 
to make a dash, and pass them before they could 
descend to the road, running the risk of their missiles, 
their arrows and lances. Make a dash ! No ; that 
would be impossible. I remembered that the path at 
both ends of the platform narrowed to a width of only 
a few feet, with the cliff rising above it and the canon 
yawning below. It was, in fact, only a ledge of the 
precipice, along which it was dangerous to pass even 
at a walk. Moreover, I had re-shod my horse at the 
mission. The iron was worn smooth ; and I knew 
that the rock was as slippery as glass. 

All these thoughts passed through my mind as I 
neared the summit of the derra. The prospect was 
appalling. The peril before me was extreme, and 
undor other circumstances I would have hesitated to 
encounter it. But I knew that that which threatened 
from behind was not less desperate. There was no 
alternative ; and with only half- formed resolutions as 
to how I should act, I pushed forward. 

I rode with caution, directing my horse as well as I 
could upon the softer parts of the trail, so that his 
hoof-strokes might not be heard. At every turn I 
halted, and scanned the profile of eacli new prospect ; 
but I did not halt longer than I could help. I knew 
that I had no time to waste. 

The road ascended through a thin wood of cedars 
and dwarf pi uons. It would zigzag up the face of the 
mountaiu. Near the crest of the sierra it turned 



A CONFLICT VPON A CLIFF. 407 

sharply to the right, and trended in to the brow ol 
the canon. There the ledge already mentioned 
became the path, and the road followed its narrow 
terrace along the very face of the precipice. 

On reaching this point I caught view of the clifl 
where I expected to see the vidette. I had guessed 
correctly : he was there, and, to my agreeable surprise, 
there was only one : a single savage. 

He was seated upon the very topmost rock of the 
sierra, and his large brown body was distinctly visi- 
ble, outlined against the pale blue sky. He was not 
more than three hundred yards from me, and about a 
third of that distance above the level of the ledge along 
which I had to pass. 

I halted the moment I caught sight oi him, and sat 
making a hurried reconnaissance. As yet he had 
neither seen nor heard me. His back was to me, and 
he appeared to be gazing intently towards the west. 
Beside the rock on which he was, his spear was stick- 
ing in the ground, and his shield, bow, and quiver 
were leaning against it. I could see upon his person 
the sparkle of a knife and tomahawk. 

I have said my reconnaissance was a harried one. A 
was conscious of the value of every moment, and 
almost at a glance I formed my resolution. That was, 
to ' run the gauntlet,' and attempt passing before the 
Indian could descend to intercept me. Obedient to 
this impulse, I gave my animal the signal to move 
forward. 

I rode slowly and cautiously, for two reasons 
because my horse dared not go otherwise ; and I 
thought that, by riding quietly, I might get beyond 
the vidette without attracting his notice. The torrent 
was hissing below. Its roar ascended to the cliff: ii 
might drown the sound of the hoof- strokes. 



«08 THE SCALP-HUNTEKS. 

With this hope I stole onward. My eye passed 
rapidly from one to the other ; from the savage on the 
cliff to the perilous path along which my horse crawled, 
shivering with affright. 

When I had advanced about six lengths upon the 
ledge, the platform came in view, and with it a group 
of objects that caused me to reach suddenly forward 
and grasp the forelock of my Moro : a sign by which, 
in the absence of a bit, I could always halt him. He 
•came at once to a stand, and I .surveyed the objects 
before me with a feeling of despair. 

They were two horses, mustangs ; and a man, an 
Indian. The mustangs, bridled and saddled, were 
standing quietly out upon the platform ; and a lasso, 
tied to the bit-ring of one of them, was coiled around 
the wrist of the Indian. The latter was sitting upon 
his hams, close up to the cliff, so that his back touched 
the rock. His arms lay horizontally across his knees, 
and upon these his head rested. I saw that he was 
•asleep. Beside him were his bow and quiver, Ivis lance 
and shield ; all leaning against the cliff. 

My situation was a terrible one. I knew that I 
■could not pass him without being heard, and I knew 
that pass Mm 1 must. In fact, I could not have gone 
back had I wished it ; for I had already entered upon 
the ledge, and was riding along a narrow shelf where 
my horse could not possibly have turned himself. 

All at once, the idea entered my mind that I might 
slip to the ground, steal forward, and with my toma- 
hawk' 

It was a cruel thought, but it was the impulse of 
instinct ; the instinct of self-preservation. 

It was not decreed that I should adopt so fearful 
an alternative. Moro, impatient at being delayed in 
the perilous position, snorted and struck the rock with 



A CONFLICT UPON A CLIFF. 40(» 

his hoof. The clink of the iron was enough for the 
sharp ears of the Spanish horses. They neighed on 
the instant. The savages sprang to their feet, and 
their simultaneous yell told me that both had dis- 
covered me. 

I saw the vidette upon the cliff pluck up his spear, 
and commence hurrying downward ; but my attention 
was soon exclusively occupied with his comrade. 

The latter, on seeing me, had leaped to his feet, 
seized his bow, and vaulted, as if mechanically, upon 
the back of his mustang. Then, uttering a wild shout, 
he trotted over the platform, and advanced along the 
ledge to meet me. 

An arrow whizzed past my head as he came up ; 
but in his hurry he had aimed badly. 

Our horses' heads met. They stood muzzle to 
muzzle with eyes dilated, their red nostrils steaming 
into each other. Both snorted fiercely, as if each was 
imbued with the wrath of his rider. They seemed to 
know that a death-strife was between us. 

They seemed conscious, too, of their own danger. 
They had met at the very narrowest part of the ledge. 
Neither could have turned or backed off again. One 
or other must go over the cliff; must fall through a 
depth of a thousand feet into the stony channel of the 
torrent ! 

I sat with a feeling of utter helplessness. I had no 
weapon with which I could reach my antagonist ; no 
missile. He had his bow, and I saw him adjusting a 
second arrow to the string. 

At this crisis three thoughts passed through my 
mind ; not as I detail them here, but following each 
other like quick flashes of lightning. My first impulso 
was to urge my horse forward, trusting to his superior 
Weight to precipitate the lighter animal from the 

2 n 



I I THE SCALP-HUXTKIIb. 

ledge. Had I been worth a bridle and spurs, I shou..i 
have adopted this plan; but I had neither, and the 
chances were too desperate without them. I aban- 
doned it for another. I would hurl my tomahawk at 
the head of my antagonist. Xo ! The third thought 1 
I will dismount, and use my weapon upon the mustang . 

This last was clearly the best ; and, obedient to its 
impulse, I slipped down between Moro and the cliff. 
As I did so, I heard the ' hist ' of another arrow pass- 
ing my cheek. It had missed me from the suddenness 
of my movements. 

In an instant I squeezed past the flanks of my hoise, 
and glided forward upon the ledge, directly in front of 
my adversary. 

The animal seeming to guess my intentions, snorted 
with affright and reared upj but was compelled to 
drop again into the same tracks. 

The Indian was fixing another shaft. Its notch 
never reached the string. As the hoofs of the mus- 
tang came down upon the rock, I aimed my blow. 
I struck the animal over the eye. I felt the skull 
yielding before my hatchet, and the next moment 
horse and rider, the latter screaming and struggling 
to clear himself of the saddle, disappeared over the 
cliff. 

There was a moment's silence ; a long moment, in 
which I knew they were falling — falling — down that 
fearful depth. Then came a loud splash, the concus- 
sion of their united bodies on the water below ! 

I had no curiosity to look over, and as little time. 
When I regained my upright attitude (fori had come 
to my knees in giving the blow), I saw the vidette 
just leaping upon the platform. He did not halt a 
moment, but advanced at a run, holding his spear at 
the charge. 



A C0XFL1CT UPON A CUFF. 41 1 

1 saw tliat I should be impaled unless I could parry 
je thrust. 1 struck wildly, but with success. The 
.ance-blade glinted from the head of my weapon. Its 
shaft passed me ; and our bodies met with a shock 
that caused us both to reel upon the very edge of the 
cliff. 

As soon as I had recovered my balance, I followed 
up my blows, keeping close to my antagonist, so that 
he could not again use his lance. Seeing this, he 
dropped the weapon and drew his tomahawk. "Wo 
now fought hand to hand, hatchet io hatchet! 

Backward and forward along the ledge we drove 
each other, as the advantage of the blows told in 
favour of either, or against him. 

Several times we grappled, and would have pushed 
each other over ; but the fear that each felt of being 
dragged after mutually restrained us, and we let go, 
and trusted again to our tomahawks. 

Not a word passed between us. We had nothing to 
gay, even could we have understood each other. Eut 
we had no boast to make, no taunt to urge, nothing 
before our minds but the fixed dark purpose of murder- 
ing one another ! 

After the first onset the Indian had ceased yelling, 
and we both fought in the intense earnestness of 
6ilence. 

There were sounds, though : an occasional sharp 
exclamation, our quick high breathing, the clinking 
of our tomahawks, the neighing of our horses, and the 
continuous roar of the torrent. These were the sym- 
phonies of our conflict. 

For some minutes we battled upon the ledge. We 
wero both cut and bruised in several places, but 
neither of us had as yet received or inflicted a mortal 
wound, 

2b2 



412 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

At length, after a continuous shower of blows, 1 
succeeded in beating my adversary back, until we 
found ourselves out upon the platform. There we 
had ample room to wind our weapons, and we struck 
with more energy than ever. After a few strokes, 
our tomahawks met, with a violent concussion, that 
Bent them flying from our hands. 

Neither dared stoop to regain his weapon ; and we 
rushed upon each other with naked arms, clutched, 
wrestled a moment, and then fell together to the 
earth. I thought my antagonist had a knife. I must 
have been mistaken, otherwise ho would have used it ; 
but without it, I soon found that in this species of 
encounter he was my master. His muscular arms- 
encircled me until my nbs cracked under the em- 
brace. AVe rolled along the ground, over and over 
each other. Oh God ! we were nearing the edge of 
the precipice ! 

I could not free myself from his grasp. His sinewy 
fingers were across my throat. They clasped me 
tightly around the trachea, stopping my breath. Ho 
was strangling me. 

I grew weak and nerveless. I could resist no 
longer. I felt my hold relax. I grew weaker and 

weaker. — I was dying. I was 1 oh heaven' 

pard — on. Oh !' 

****** 

I could not have been long insensible; for when 
consciousness returned I was still warm, sweating, 
lvom the effects of the struggle, and my wounds were 
bleeding freshly and freely. I felt that I yet lived. 
I saw that I was still upon the platform ; but where 
was my antagonist ? "Why had not he finished me ? 
Why had not he flung me over the cliff? 

I rose upon my elbow and looked around. I could 



A CONFLICT UPON A CLIFF. 413 

see no living things but my own horse, and that of 
the Indian galloping over the platform, kicking and 
plunging at each other. 

But I heard sounds, sounds of fearful import, like 
the hoarse, angry worrying of dogs, mingling with 
the cries of a human voice ; a voice uttered in agony ! 

What could it mean? I saw that there was a break 
in the platform, a deep cut in the rock ; and out of 
this the sounds appeared to issue. 

I rose to my feet, and, tottering towards the spot, 
looked in. It was an awful sight to look upon. The 
gully was some ten feet in depth ; and at its bottom, 
among the weeds and cacti, a huge dog was engaged 
in tearing something that screamed and struggled. 
It was a man, an Indian. All was explained at a 
glance. The dog was Alp ; the man was my late 
antagonist ! 

As I came upon the edge, the dog was on the top 
of his adversary, and kept himself uppermost by 
desperate bounds from side to side, still dashing the 
other back as he attempted to rise to his feet. The 
savage was crying in despair. I thought I saw the 
teeth of the animal fast in his throat, but I watched 
the struggle no longer. Voices from behind caused 
me to turn round. My pursuers had reached the 
«anon, and were urging their animals along the ledge. 

I staggered to my horse, and springing upon his 
back once more directed him to the terrace ; that 
part which led outward. In a few minutes I had 
cleared the cliff and was hurrying down the moun- 
tain. As I approached its foot I heard a rustling 
in the bushes that on both sides lined the path. Then 
an object sprang out a short distance behind me. It 
was the St. Bernard. 

As he came alongside he uttered a low whimper 



414 THE. SCALP-IIUXTLttS. 

and once or twice wagged his tail. I knew not how 
he could have escaped, for lie must have waited until 
the Indians reached the platform ; but the fresh blood 
that stained his jaws, and clotted the shaggy hair 
upon his breast, showed that he had left one with 
but little power to detain him. 

On reaching the plain I looked back. I saw my pur- 
suers coming down the face of the sierra ; but I had 
still nearly half-a-mile of start, and, taking the snowy 
mountain for my guide, I struck out into the ope» 
prairie. 



C1IAPTEK LV 

AS UNEXPECTED RENCONTRE. 

As 1 rode off from the mountain foot, the white peaiv 
glistened at a distance of thirty miles. There was 
not a hillock between : not a brake or bush excepting, 
the low shrubs of the artemisia. 

It was not yet noon. Could I reach the snowy 
mountain before sunset? If so, I trusted in being 
able to follow our old trail to the mine. Thence I 
might keep on to the Del Norte, by striking a branch 
of the Paloma or some other lateral stream. Such 
were my plans, undefined as I rode forth. 

I knew that I should be pursued almost to the gates 
of El Paso ; and, when I had ridden forward about a 
mile, a glance to the rear showed me that the Indian* 
had just reached the plain, and were striking out 
after me. 

It was no longer a question of speed. I knew that 
I had the heels of their whole cavalcade. Did my 
horso possess the ' bottom V 



AV UNEXPECTED RENCOX'l RE. 115 

I knew the tireless, wiry nature of the Spanish mus- 
tang ; and their animals were of that race. I knew 
they could gallop for a long day without breaking 
down, and this led me to fear for the result. 

Speed was nothing now, and I made no attempt to 
keep it up. I was determined to economise the strength 
of my steed. I could not be overtaken so long as he 
lasted ; and I galloped slowly forward, watching the 
movements of my pursuers, and keeping a regular dis- 
tance ahead of them. 

At times I dismounted to relieve my horse, and ran 
alongside of him. My dog followed, occasionally 
looking up in my face, and seemingly conscious why I 
was making such a hurried journey. 

During all the day I was never out of sight of tho 
Indians ; in fact, I could have distinguished their arms 
and counted their numbers at any time. There were 
in all about a score of horsemen. The stragglers had 
gone back, and only the well-mounted men now con- 
tinued the pursuit. 

As I neared the foot of the snowy peak, I remem- 
bered there was water at our old camping-ground in 
the pass ; and I pushed my horse faster, in order to 
gain time to refresh both him and myself. I intended 
to make a short halt, and allow the noble brute to 
breathe himself and snatch a bite of the bunch-grass 
that grew around tho spring. There was nothing to 
fear so long as his strength held out, and I knew tn*t 
this was the plan to sustain it. 

It was near sundown as I entered the defile. Before 
riding in among the rocks I looked back. During the 
last hour I had gained upon my purFuers. They were 
still at least three miles out upon the plain, and I saw 
that they were toiling on wearily. 

1 fell into a train of reflection as I rode down the 



410 the 3CALi'-iir:."TEns. 

ravine. I was now upon a known trail. My spirits 
rose ; my hopes, so long clouded over, began to assume 
a brightness and buoyancy, greater from the very 
influence of reaction. I should still be able to rescue 
my betrothed. My whole energies, my fortune, my 
life, would be devoted to this one object. I would 
raise a band stronger than ever Seguin had com- 
manded. I should get followers among the returning 
employes of the caravan ; teamsters whose term of 
service had expired. T would search the posts and 
mountain rendezvous for trappers and hunters. I 
would apply to the Mexican government for aid, in 
money — in troops. I would appeal to the citizens of 
El Paso, of Chihuahua, of Durango. 

' Gee-hosaphat ! Hyur's a fellur ridin' 'ithout eyther 
saddle or bridle !' 

Five or six men with rifles sprang out from tiie 
rocks, surrounding me. 

' May an Injun eat me ef 'tain't the young fellur as 
tuk me for a grizzly ! Billie ! look hyur ! hyur he is ! 
the very fellur ! He! he! he! Ho! ho! ho!' 

'Eube! Garey!' 

' What ! By Jove, it's my friend Haller ! Hurrah ' 
Old fellow, don't you know me ?' 

' St. Vrain !' 

' That it is. Don't I look like him ? It would have 
been a harder task to identify you but for what the 
old trapper has been telling us about you. But come ! 
how have you got out of the hands of the Philis- 
tines ?' 

' First tell me who you all are. What are you doing 
here ?' 

' Oh, we're a junket ! The army is below.' 

'The army?' 

' AYliy, we call it so. There's six hundred of us : 



AN UNKXPECTEti RENCOXTltE. 417 

&nd that's about as big an army as usually travels in 
these parts.' 

' But who ? What are they ?' 

'They are of all sorts and colours. There's the 
Chihuahuenos and Passeilos, and niggurs, and hunters, 
and trappers, and teamsters. Your humble servant 
commands these last-named gentry. And then there's 
the band of your friend Seguin ' 

' Seguin ! Is he ?' 

'What? He's at the head of all. But come! 
they're camped down by the spring. Let us go down 
You don't look over- fed ; and, old fellow, there's a 
drop of the best Paso in my saddle-bags. Come !' 

' Stop a moment ! I am pursued.' 

' Pursued !' echoed the hunters, simultaneously rais- 
ing their rifles, and looking up the ravine. 

' How many ?' 

' About twenty.' 

' Are they close upon you ?' 

'No.' 

' How long before we may expect thorn ?' 

' They are three miles back, with tired horses, as 
you may suppose.' 

Three-quarters ; half-an-hour at any rate. Come ! 
we'll have time to go down and make arrangements 
for their reception. Eube ! you with the rest can re- 
main here. We shall join you before thoy get forward. 
Come, Haller ! come !' 

Following my faithful and warm-hearted friend, I 
-ode on to the spring. Around it I found 'the army ;' 
and it had somewhat of that appearance, for two or 
<hree hundred of the men were in uniform. These 
tverc the volunteer guards of Chihuahua and El Paso. 

The late ' raid ' of the Indians had exasperated the 
inhabitants, and this unusually strong muster was tha 



418 THE SCAU'-HLWTERS. 

consequence. Seguin, with the remnant of his band, 
nad met them at El Paso, and hurried them forward 
on the Navajo trail. It was from him St. Vrain had 
heard of my capture ; and in hopes of rescuing me 
had joined the expedition with about forty or fifty 
employes of the caravan. 

Most of Seguin's band had escaped after the fight in 
the barranca, and among the rest, I was rejoiced to 
hear, El Sol and La Luna. They were now on their 
return with Seguin, and I found them at his tent. 

Seguin welcomed me as the bearer of joyful news. 
They were still safe. That was all I could tell him, 
and all he asked for, during our hurried congratula- 
tion. 

We had no time for idle talk. A hundred men im- 
mediately mounted and rode up the ravine. On 
reaching the ground occupied by the picket, they led 
their horses behind the rocks and formed an ambus- 
cade. The order was, that all the Indians must be 
killed or taken. 

The plan hastily agreed upon was, to let them pass 
the ambushed men, and ride on until they had got in 
sight of the main body ; then both divisions were to 
close upon them. 

It was a dry ratine above the spring, and the horses 
nad made no tracks upon its rocky bed. Moreover, 
the Indians, ardent in their pursuit of me, would not 
be on the look-out for any 'sign' before reaching the 
water. Should they pass the ambuscade, then not a 
man of them would escape, as the defile on both sides 
was walled in by a precipice. 

After the others had gone, about a hundred men at 
the spring leaped into their saddles, and sat with their 
rives bent up the pass. 

They were not long kept waiting A few minutes 



AN UNEXPECTED RENCONTRE. 419 

After the ambuscade had been placed, an Indian 
showtd himself round an angle of the rock, about two 
hundred yards above the spring. He was the foremost 
of the warriors, and must have passed the ambushed 
horsemen; but as yet the latter lay still. Seeing a 
body of men, the savage halted with a quick jerk ; 
and then, uttering a cry, wheeled and rode back upon 
his comrades. These, imitating his example, wheeled 
also ; but before they had fairly turned themselves in 
the ravine, the cached horsemen sprang out in a body 
from the rocks and came galloping down. 

The Indians, now, seeing that they were completely 
in the trap, with overpowering numbers on both sides 
of them, threw down their spears and begged for 
mercy. 

In a few minutes they were all captured. The 
whole affair did not occupy half-an-hour ; and, with 
our prisoners securely tied, we returned to the spring. 

The leading men now gathered around Seguin to 
settle on some plan for attacking the town. Should 
we move on to it that night ? 

I was asked for my advice, and of course answered 
' Yes ; the sooner the better, for the safety of the 
captives.' 

My feelings, as well as those of Seguin could not 
brook delay. Besides, several of our late comrades 
wcie to die on the morrow. We might still be in time 
to save them. 

How were we to approach the valley ? 

This was the next point to be discussed. 

The enemy would now be certain to have their 
videttes at both ends, and it promised to be clear 
moonlight until morning. They could easily see such 
a large body approaching from the open plain. Here 
then was a difficulty. 



'120 THE SCALP HUNTERS 

' Let us divide,' said one of Seguin's old band ; ' let a 
party go in at each end. That'll git 'em in the trap.' 

'Wagh!' replied another, 'that would never do. 
Thar's ten miles o' rough wood thar. If we raised 
the niggers by such a show as this, they'd take to 
them, gals and all, an' that's the last we'd see o' 
them.' 

This speaker was clearly in the right. It would 
never do to make our attack openly. Stratagem must 
again be used. 

A head was now called into the council that soon 
mastered the difficulty, as it had many another. That 
was the skinless, earless head of the trapper Eube. 

' Cap,' said he, after a short delay, ' 'ee needn't show 
yur crowd till we've first took the luk-outs by the 
eend o' the kenyun.' 

' How can we take them ?' inquired Seguin. 

' Strip them twenty niggurs,' replied Eube, pointing 
to our captives, ' an' let twenty o' us put on their 
duds. Then we kin take the young fellur — him hyur 
as tuk me for the grizzly ! He ! he ! he ! Ole Eubfi 
tuk for a grizzly ! We kin take him back a pris'nei . 
Now, cap, do 'ee see how?' 

' You would have these twenty to keep far in tne 
advance then, capture the videttes, and wait till the 
main body comes up ?' 

' Sartinly ; thet's my idee adzactly.' 
'It is the best, the only one. We shall follow it.' 
A.nd Seguin immediately ordered the Indians to be 
etripped of their dresses. These consisted mostly ol 
garments that had been plundered from the people ol 
the Mexican towns, and were of all cuts and colours. 

'I'd recommend 'ee, cap,' suggested Eube, seeing 
that Seguin was looking out to choose the men for 
this advance party ; ' I'd recommend 'ee to take a 



AN UNEXrh'CTKM KENCON TEE. 42 1 

emart sprinklin' o' the Delaware. Them Navaghs i» 
miglity 'cute, and not easily bamfoozled. They mout 
Bight white skin by moonlight. Them o' us that must 
go along '11 hev to paint Injun, or we'll be fooled arter 
all ; we will.' 

Seguin, taking this hint, selected for the advance 
most of the Delaware and Shawano Indians ; and these 
were now dressed in the clothes of the Navajoes. Re 
himself, with Eube, Garcy, and a few other whites, 
made up the required number. I, of course, was to go- 
along and play the role of a prisoner. 

The whites of the party soon accomplished their 
change of dress, and ' painted Injun :' a trick of the 
prairie toilet well known to all of them. 

Eube had but little change to make. His hue was 
already of sufficient deepness for the disguise, and he 
was not going to trouble himself by throwing off the 
old shirt or leggings. That could hardly have been 
done without cutting both open, and Eube was not 
likely to make such a sacrifice of his favourite buck- 
skins. He proceeded to draw the other garments over 
them, and in a short time was habited in a pair of 
slashing calzoneros, with bright buttons from the hip 
to the ankle. These, with a smart, tight-fitting jacket 
that had fallen to his share, and a jaunty sombrero 
cocked upon his head, gave him the air of a most 
comical dandy. The men fairly yelled at seeing him. 
thus metamorphosed, and old Eube Hmself grinned 
heartily at the odd feelings which the dress occasioned 
him. 

Before the sun had set, everything was in readiness, 
and the advance started off. The main body, under 
St. Vrain, was to follow an hour after. A few men, 
Mexicans, remained by the spring, in charge of the 
Navajo prisoners. 



( 422 ) 



CHAPTEE Wl 

THE EESCUE. 

Ws struck directly across the plain for the eastern 
entrance of the valley. We reached the canon about 
two hours before day. Everything turned out as we 
had anticipated. There was an outpost of five Indians 
at the end of tho pass, but we had stolen upon them 
unawares, and they were captured without the neces- 
sity of our firing a shot. 

The main body came up soon after, and, preceded 
by our party as before, passed through the canon. 
Arriving at the border of the woods nearest the town, 
we halted, and concealed ourselves among the trees. 

The town was glistening in the clear moonlight, and 
deep silence was over the valley. There were none 
stirring at so early an hour, but we could descry two 
or three dark objects down by the river. We knew 
them to be the sentinels that stood over our captive 
comrades. The sight was gratifying, for it told us 
they still lived. They little dreamed, poor fellows ! 
how near was the hour of their deliverance. For tho 
fame reasons that had influenced us on a former oc- 
casion, the attack was not to be made until daybreak ; 
and we waited as before, but with a very different 
prospect. There were now six hundred warriors in 
the town— about our own number; and we knew that 
a desperate engagement was before us. We had no 
fear as to the result ; but we feared that the vengeful 
savages might take it into their heads to despatcn 
their captives while we fought. They knew that to 



THE UKSCUE. 423 

recover these was our main object, and, if themselves 
defeated, that would give them the satisfaction of a 
terrible vengeance. 

All this we knew was far from improbable ; but to 
guard against the possibility of such an event, every 
precaution was to be taken. 

We were satisfied that the captive women were stiU 
in the temple. Eube assured us that it was theii 
universal custom to keep new prisoners there for 
several days after their arrival, until they were finally 
distributed among the warriors. The queen, too, 
dwelt in this building. 

It was resolved, then, that tho disguised party 
should ride forward, conducting me, as their prisoner, 
by the first light ; and that they should surround the 
temple, and by a clever coup secure the white cap- 
tives. A signal then given on the bugle, or the first 
shot fired, was to bring the main body forward at a 
gallop. 

This was plainly the best plan, and having fully 
arranged its details, we waited the approach of the 
dawn. 

It was not long in coming. The moonlight became 
mixed with the faint rays of the aurora, and objects 
were seen more distinctly. As the milky quartz 
caught the hues of morning, we rode out of our cover, 
and forward over the plain. I was apparently tied 
upon my horse, and guarded between two of the 
Delawares. 

On approaching the town we saw several men upon 
the roofs. They ran to and fro, summoning others 
out, and large groups began to appear along the 
terraces. As we came nearer we were greeted with 
shouts of congratulation. 

Avoiding the streets we pushed directly for th« 



4 -4 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

temple, at a brisk trot. On arriving at its base we 
suddenly halted, flung ourselves from our horses, and 
climbed the ladders. There were many women upoD 
the parapets of the building. Among these, Seguin 
recognised his daughter, the queen. She was at once 
secured and forced into the inside. The next moment 
I held my betrothed in my arms, while her mother 
was by our side. The other captives were there ; and, 
without waiting to offer any explanation, we hurried 
them all within the rooms, and guarded the doors 
with our pistols. 

The whole manoeuvre had not occupied two minutes ; 
but before its completion a wild cry announced that 
the ruse was detected. Vengeful yells rang over the 
town ; and the warriors, leaping down from their 
houses, ran towards the temple. 

Arrows began to hurtle around us ; but above all 
other sounds pealed the notes of the bugle, summoning 
our comrades to the attack. 

Quick upon the signal they were seen debouching 
from the woods and coming down at a gallop. 

When within two hundred yards of the houses. t-b«* 
charging horsemen divided into two columns, and 
wheeled round the town, with the intention of attack- 
ing it on both sides. 

The Indians hastened to defend the skirts of the 
village ; but in spite of their arrow-flights, which dis- 
mounted several, the horsemen closed in, and, flinging 
themselves from their horses, fought hand to hand 
among the walls. The shouts of defiance, the sharp 
ringing of rifles, and the louder reports of the esco- 
pettes, soon announced that the battle had lairly 
begun. 

A large party, headed by El Sol and St. Vrain, haa 
ridden up to the temple. Seeing that we had secured 



THE KESCUE. 42i) 

the captives, these too dismounted, and commenced 
an attack upon that part of the town ; clambering up 
to the houses, and driving out the braves -who de- 
fended them. 

The fight now became general. Shouts and sounds 
of shots rent the air. Men were seen upon high roofs, 
face to face in deadly and desperate conflict. Crowds 
of women, screaming and terrified, rushed along the 
terraces, or ran out upon the plain, making for the 
woods. Frightened horses, snorting and neighing 
galloped through the streets, and off over the open 
prairie, with trailing bridles ; while others, enclosed 
in corrals, plunged and broke over the walls. It was 
a wild scene — a terrific picture ! 

Through all, I was only a spectator. I was guarding 
a door of the temple in which were our own friends. 
My elevated position gave me a view of the whole 
village, and I could trace the progress of the battle 
from house to house. I saw that many were falling 
on both sides, for the savages fought with the courage 
of despair. I had no fears for the result. The whites 
too, had wrongs to redress, and by the remembrance 
of these were equally nerved for the struggle. In 
this kind of encounter they had the advantage in arms. 
It was only on the plains that their savage foes were 
feared, when charging with their long and death- 
dealing lances. 

As I continued to gaze over the azoteas, a terrific 
scene riveted my attention, and I forgot all others. 
Upon a high roof two men were engaged in combat 
fierce and deadly. Their brilliant dresses had attractei 
me, and I soon recognised the combatants. Thej 
were Dacoma and the Maricopa ! 

The Navajo fought with a spear, and I saw that the 
ether held his rifle clubbed and empty. 

2 E 



42(J THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

When my eye first rested upon tnom, the latter 
had just parried a thrust, and was aiming a blow at 
his antagonist. It fell -without effect ; and Dacoma, 
turning quickly, brought his lance again to the 
eharge. Before El Sol could ward it off, the thrust 
was given, and the weapon appeared to pass through 
«iis body ! 

I involuntarily uttered a cry, as I expected to see 
the noble Indian fall. What was my astonishment at 
seeing him brandish his tomahawk over his head, 
charge luith the spear, and with a crashing blow stretch 
the Navajo at his feet ! 

Drawn down by the impaling shaft, he fell over the 
body, but in a moment struggled up again, drew the 
long lance from his flesh, and, tottering forward to the 
parapet, shouted out — 

' Here, Luna ! Our mother is avenged !' 

I saw the girl spring upon the roof, followed by 
Garey ; and the next moment the wounded man sank 
fainting in the arms of the trapper. 

fiube, St. Vrain, and several others now climbed to 
the roof, and commenced examining the wound. 1 
watched them with feelings of painful suspense, for 
the character of this most singular man had inspired 
me with friendship. Presently St. Train joiued me, 
and I was assured that the wound was not mortal. 
The Maricopa would live. 

The battle was now ended. The warriors who sur 
vived had fled to the forest. Shots were heard only at 
intervals ; an occasional shout, the shriek of soino 
Ravage discovered lurking among the walls. 

Many white captives had been found in the town, 
and were brought in front of the temple, guarded by 
the Mexicans. The Indian women had escaped to the 
woods during the engagement. It was well ; for the 



THE RKGCUE. 427 

hunters and volunteer soldiery, exasperated by wounds 
and heated by the conflict, now raged around like 
furies. Smoke ascended from many of the houses ; 
flames followed ; and the greater part of the town was 
soon reduced to a smouldering ruin. 

We stayed all that day by the Navajo village, to 
recruit our animals and prepare for our homeward 
journey across the desert. The plundered cattle were 
collected. Some were slaughtered for immediate use, 
and the rest placed in charge of vaqueros, to bo driven 
on the hoof. Most of the Indian horses were lassoed 
and brought in, some to be ridden by the rescued 
captives, others as the booty of the conquerors. But 
it was not safe to remain long in the valley. There 
were other tribes of the Navajoes to the north, who 
would soon be down upon us. There were their allies : 
the great nations of the Apache to the south, and the 
Nijoras to the Avest ; and we knew that all these 
would unite and follow on our trail. The object <)f 
the expedition was attained, at least as far as its 
leader had designed it. A great number of captives 
were recovered, whose friends had long since mourned 
them as lost for ever. It would be some time before 
they would renew those savage forays in which they 
had annually desolated the pueblos of the frontier. 

By sunrise of the next day we had repassed the 
eaBon. nwi were ridine towards the snowy mountain. 



( 428 ) 



CHAPTEK LVH. 

EL PASO DEL KOETE. 

I will not describe the recrossing of the desert plains, 
nor will I detail the incidents of our homeward 
journey. 

With all its hardships and weariness, to me it was a 
pleasant one. It is a pleasure to attend upon her we 
love, and that along the route was my chief duty. 
The smiles I received far more than repaid me for the 
labour I underwent in its discharge. But it was no 
labour. It was no labour to fill her xuages with fresh 
water at every spring or runlet, to spread the blanket 
softly over her saddle, to weave her a ' quitasol ' out 
of the broad leaves of the palmilla, to assist her in 
mounting and dismounting. No ; that was not labour 
to me. 

"SVe were happy as we journeyed. I was happy, for 
I knew that I had fulfilled my contract and won my 
bride ; and the very remembrance of the perils through 
which we had so lately passed heightened the hap- 
piness of both. But one thing cast an occasional 
gloom over our thoughts : the queen — Adele. 

She was returning to the home of her childhood ; 
not voluntarily, but as a captive : captive to her own 
kindred, her father and mother ! 

Throughout the journey, both these waited upon 
her with tender assiduity, almost constantly gazing at 
her with sad and silent boks. There was woe in their 
tearts. 

Wj were not pursued ; or, if so, our pursuers never 



EL PASO DEL NOBTE. 429 

•came up. Perhaps we were not followed at all. The 
foe had been crippled and cowed by the terrible, 
chastisement, and we knew it would be some tima 
before they could muster force enough to take our 
trail. Still we lost not a moment, but travelled as 
fast as the ganados could be pushed forward. 

In five days we reached the Barranca del Oro, and 
passed the old mine, the scene of our bloody conflict. 
During our halt among the ruined ranches, I strayed 
away from the rest, impelled by a painful curiosity to 
see if aught remained of my late follower or his fellow- 
victim. I went to the spot where I had last seen 
their bodies. Yes : two skeletons lay in front of the 
shaft, as cleanly picked by the wolves as if they had 
been dressed for the studio of an anatomist. It was 
all that remained of the unfortunate men. 

After leaving the Barranca del Oro, we struck the 
head waters of the Rio Mimbres ; and, keeping on the 
banks of that stream, followed it down to the Del 
Norte. Next day we entered the pueblo of El Paso. 

A scene of singular interest greeted lis on our 
arrival. As we neared the town, the whole popu- 
lation flocked out to meet us. Some had come fort'u 
from curiosity, some to welcome us and take part in 
the ceremony that hailed our triumphant return, but 
not a few impelled by far different motives. We had 
brought with us a large number of rescued captives — 
nearly fifty in all : and these were soon surrounded 
by a crowd of citizens. In that crowd were yearning 
mothers and fond sisters, lovers newly awakened from 
despair, and husbands who had not yet ceased to 
mourn. There were hurried inquiries, and quick 
glances, that betokened keen anxiety. There were 
scenes' and shouts of joy, as each one recognized 
«ome long-lost object of a dear affection. But there 



30 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

were other scenes of a diverse character : scenes ol 
woe and wailing : for of many of those who had gone 
forth, but a few days before, in the pride of health and 
the panoply of war, many came not back. 

I was particularly struck with one episode — a pain- 
ful one to witness. Two women of the poblana class 
had laid hold upon one of the captives : a girl of, I 
should think, about ten years of age. Each claimed 
the girl for her daughter, and each of them held one 
of her arms, not rudely, but to hinder the other from 
carrying her off. A crowd had encircled them, and 
ooth the women were urging their claims in loud and 
plaintive voice. 

One stated the age of the girl, hastily narrated the 
history of her capture by the savages, and pointed to 
certain marks upon her person, to which she declared 
she was ready at any moment to make 'juramento. 
The other appealed to the spectators to look at the 
colour of the child's hair and eyes, which slightly 
differed from that of the other claimant, and called 
upon them to note the resemblance she bore to another, 
who stood by, and who, she alleged, was the child's 
eldest sister. Both talked at the same time, and 
kissed the girl repeatedly as they talked. 

The little wild captive stood between the two, 
receiving their alternate embraces with a wondering 
and puzzled expression. She was, in truth, a most 
interesting child, habited in the Indian costume, and 
browned by the sun of the desert. Whichever might 
have been the mother, it was evident she had no 
remembrance of either of them : for here there was no 
mother ! In her infancy she had been carried off to the 
desert, and like the daughter of Seguin, had forgotten 
the scenes of her childhood. She had forgotten father 
— mother — all ! 



EL PASO P" NOB.TJ5. 431 

It was, as I have said, a scene painful to ■witness-, 
tbs women's looks of anguish, their passionate appeals, 
their wild but affectionate embraces lavished upon the 
girl, their plaintive cries mingled with sobs and weep- 
ing. It was indeed a painful scene. 

It was soon brought to a close, at least as far as 1 
witnessed it. The alcalde came upon the ground ; 
and the girl was given in charge to the ' policia,' until 
the true mother should bring forward more definite 
proofs of maternity. I never heard the finale of this 
little romance. 

The return of tho expedition to El Paso "was cele- 
brated by a triumphant ovation. Cannon boomed, 
bells rang, fireworks hissed and sputtered, masses 
were sung, and music filled the streets. Feasting and 
merriment followed, and the night was turned into a 
blazing illumination of wax candles, and l un <jran 
funcion de balle '■ — a fandango. 

Next morning, Seguin, with his wife and daughters, 
made preparations to journey on to the old hacienda 
on the Del Norte. The house was still standing ; so 
we had heard. It had not been plundered. The 
savages, on taking possession of it, had been closely 
pressed by a body of Pasefios, and had hurried off 
with their captives, leaving everything else as they 
had found it. 

St. Vrain and I were to accompany tbo party to 
their home. 

The chief had plans for the future, in which both I 
and my friend were interested. There we were to 
mature them. 

I found the returns of my trading speculation even 
greater than St. Train had promised. My ten thou- 
sand dollars had been trebled. St. Vrain, too, was 
master of a large amount ; and we were enabled to 



i'3'2 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

bestow our bounty on those of our late comrades w ho 
nad proved themselves worthy. 

But most of them had received 'bounty' from 
another source. As we rode out from El Paso, I 
chanced to look back. There was a long string of 
dark objects waving over the gates. There was no 
mistaking what they were, for they were unlike any- 
thing else. They were scalps ! 



CHAPTEK LVIII. 

TOUCHING THE CHORDS OF MEMORY. 

It is the second evening after our arrival at the old 
house on the Del Norte. We have gone up to tho 
azotea — Seguin, St. Train, and myself: I know not 
why, but guided thither by our host. Perhaps he 
wishes to look once more over that wild land, the 
theatre of so many scenes in his eventful life : once 
more, for upon the morrow he leaves it for ever. Our 
plans have been formed ; we journey upon the morrow ; 
we are going over the broad plains to the waters of 
the Mississippi. They go with us. 

It is a lovely evening, and warm. The atmosphere 
ic elastic : such an atmosphere as you can find only 
on the high tables of the western world. It seems to 
act upon all animated nature, judging from its voices. 
There is joy in the songs of the birds, in the humming 
of the homeward bees. There is a softness, too, in 
those sounds that reach us from the farther forest ; 
those sounds usually harsh ; the voices of the wilder 
and fiercer creatures of the wilderness. All seem 
attuned to peace and love. 



TOUCHING THE CHORDS OF MOIORF. 4U<1 

The song of the arriero is joyous ; for many of these 
are below, packing for our departure. 

I too am joyous. I have been so for days ; but tho 
light atmosphere around, and the bright prospect before 
me, have heightened the pulsations of my happiness. 

Not so my companions on the azotea. Both seem sad. 

Seguin is silent. I thought he had climbed up here 
to take a last look of the fair valley. Not so. He 
paces backward and forward with folded arms, his 
eyes fixed upon the cemented roof. They see no 
farther ; they see not at all. The eye of his mind 
only is active, and that is looking inward. His air is 
abstracted ; his brow is clouded ; his thoughts are 
gloomy and painful. I know the cause of all this. 
She is still a stranger ! 

But St. Vrain — the witty, the buoyant, the spark- 
ling St. Train — what misfortune has befallen him ? 
What cloud is crossing the rose-coloured field of his 
horoscope? "What reptile is gnawing at his heart, 
that not even the sparkling wine of El Paso can 
drown ? St. Vrain is speechless ; St. Vrain is sighing ; 
St. Vrain is sad ! 1 half divine the cause. St. Vrain 
is 

The tread of light feet upon the stone stairway — 
the rustling of female dresses ! 

They are ascending. They are Madame Seguin, 
Adele, Zoe. 

I look at the mother — at her features. They, too, 
are shaded by a melancholy expression. Why is not 
she happy? Why not joyous, having recovered a 
long-lost, much-loved child? Ah! she has not yet 
recovered her I 

I turn my eyes on the daughter— the elder one — tho 
queen. That is the strangest expression of all. 

Have you seen the captive ocelot ? Have you sceu 



434 THE SCALP-HCLVTERS. 

the wild bird that refuses to be tamed, but against tlio 
bars of its cage prison still beats its bleeding wiLgs. 
If so, it may help you to fancy that expression. 1 
cannot depict it. 

She is no longer in the Indian costume. That has 
been put aside. She wears the dress of civilised life, 
but she wears it reluctantly. She has shown this, foi 
the skirt is torn in several places, and the bodice, 
plucked open, displays her bosom, half nude, heaving 
under the wild thoughts which agitate it. 

She accompanies them, but not as a companion. 
She has the air of a prisoner, the air of the eagle 
whose wings have been clipped. She regards neither 
mother nor sister. Their constant kindness has failed 
to impress her. 

The mother has led her to the azotea, and let go 
her hand. She walks no longer with them, but 
crouching, and in starts, from place to place, obedient 
to the impulse of strong emotions. 

She has reached the western wing of the azotea, and 
stands close up against the parapet, gazing over — 
gazing upon the Mimbres. She knows them well, 
those peaks of sparkling selenite, those watch-towers 
of the desert land : she knows them well. Her heart 
is with her eyes. 

We stand watching her, all of us. She is the object 
of common solicitude. She it is who keeps between all 
hearts and the light. The father looks sadly on ; the 
mother looks sadly on ; Zoe looks sadly on ; St. Vrain 
too. No! that is a different expression. His gaze is 
the gaze of 

She has turned suddenly. She perceives that we are 
all regarding her with attention. Her eyes wander 
from one to the other. They are fixed upon the 
glance of St. Vrain ' 



TOUCHING THE CHORDS OF MEMORY. 43j 

A change comes over her countenance — a sudden 
efc&nge, from dark to bright, like the cloud passing 
from the sun. Her eye is fired by a new expression. 
I know it well. I have seen it before ; not in her eyes, 
but in those that resemble them : the eyes of her 
sister. I know it well. It is the lujht of love '. 

St. Vrain ! His too are lit by a similar emotion ! 
Happy St. Vrain ! Happy that it is mutual. As yet 
he knows not that, but I do. I could bless him with 
a single word. 

Moments pass. Their eyes mingle in fiery com- 
munion. They gaze into each other. Neither can 
avert their glance. A god rules them: the god oi 
love ! 

The proud and energetic attitude of the girl gradu- 
ally forsakes her ; her features relax ; her eye swim? 
with a softer expression ; and her whole bearing seems 
to have undergone a change. 

She sinks down upon a bench. She leans against 
the parapet. She no longer turns to the west. She 
no longer gazes upon the Mimbres. Her heart is no 
longer in the desert land I 

No ; it is with her eyes, and these rest almost con- 
tinuously on St. Train. They wander at intervals 
over the stones of the azotea ; then her thoughts do 
not go with them ; but they ever return to the same 
object, to gaze upon it tenderly, more tenderly at 
each new glance. 

The anguish of captivity is over. She no longer de- 
sires to escape. There is no prison where he dwells. 
It is now a paradise. Henceforth the doors may bo 
thrown freely open. That little bird will make no 
farther effort to lly from its cage. It is tamed. 

What memory, friendship, entreaties, had failed to 
effect, lovs had accomplished in a single instant 



436 THE SOALP-IU'XTEES. 

Love, mysterious power, in one pulsatson had Trans- 
formed that wild heart ; had drawn it from the desert. 

I fancied that Seguin had noticed all this, for he waa 
observing her movements with attention. I fancied 
that such thoughts were passing in his mind, and that 
they were not unpleasing to him, for he looked less 
a,fflicted than before. But I did not continue to watch 
the s-cene. A deeper interest summoned me aside ; 
and, obedient to the sweet impulse, I strayed towards 
the southern angle of the azotea. 

I was not alone. My betrothed was by my side ; 
and our hands, like our hearts, were locked in each 
other. 

There was no secresy about our love : with Zoe 
there never had been. 

Nature had prompted the passion. She knew not 
the conventionalities of the world, of society, of circles 
refined, soi-disant. She knew not that love was a pas- 
sion for one to be ashamed of. 

Hitherto no presence had restrained her in its ex- 
pression : not even that, to lovers of less pure design, 
awe-inspiring above all others— the presence of the 
parents. Alone or in their company, there was no 
difference in her conduct. She knew not the hypo- 
crisies of artificial natures; the restraints, the in- 
trigues, the agonies of atoms that act. She knew not 
the terror of guilty minds. She obeyed only the 
impulse her Creator had kindled within her. 

With me it was otherwise. I had shouldered 
society ; though not much then, enough to make me 
Jess proud of love's purity : enough to render m? 
slightly sceptical of its sincerity. But through her 1 
had now escaped from that scepticism. I had become 
ft faithful believer in the nobility of the passion. 

Our love was sanctioned by those who alone po»- 



TOUCHING THE CHORDS OF MEMORY. 43? 

sessed the right to sanction it. It was sanctified by 
its own purity. 

We are gazing upon a fair scene ; fairer now, at the- 
sunset hour. The sun is no longer upon the stream 
but his rays slant through the foliage of the cotton- 
wood trees that fringe it, and here and there a yellow 
beam is flung transversely on the water. The forest 
is dappled by the high tints of autumn. There are 
green leaves and red ones ; some of a golden colour, 
and others of dark maroon. Under this bright mosaic- 
the river winds away like a giant serpent, hiding its 
head in the darker woods around El Paso. 

"We command a view of all this, for we arc above 
tho landscape. "We see the brown houses of the vil- 
lage, with the shining vane of its church. Our eyes 
have often rested upon that vane in happy hours, but 
none happier than now, for our hearts are full of hap- 
piness. 

We talk of the past as well as the present ; for Zoo 
has now seen something of life : its darker pictures, it 
is true ; but these are often the most pleasant to be 
remembered ; and her desert experience has furnished 
her with many a new thought— the cue to many an 
inquiry. 

The future becomes the subject of our converse. It 
is all bright, though a long and even perilous journey 
is before us. We think not of that. We look beyond 
it to that promised hour when I am to teach, and she 
to learn, " what is to marry." 

Some one is touching the strings of a bandolin. We 
100k around. Madame Seguin is seated upon a bench, 
hoiding the instrument in her hands. She is tuning 
it. As yet she has not played. There has been no 
music since our return. 

Tt is by Seguin's request that the instrument nas 



«bb THE SCALP-IIUNTErS. 

been brought up, with the music, to chase away heavy 
memories ; or, perhaps, from a hope that it may 
Root he those savage ones still dwelling in the bosom of 
his child. 

Madame Seguin is about to play, and my companion 
and I go nearer to listen. 

Stsuin and St. Train are conversing apart. Adele 
Is still seated where we left her, silent and abstracted. 

The music commences. It is a merry air — a fan- 
dango : one of those to which the Andalusian foot 
delights to keep time. 

Seguin and St. Train have turned. We all stand 
looking in the face of Adele. "We endeavour to read 
its expression. 

The first notes have startled her from her attitude 
of abstraction. Her eyes wander from one to the 
other ; from the instrument to the player, with looks 
of wonder — of inquiry. 

The music continues. The girl has risen, and, as if 
mechanically, approaches the bench where her mother 
is seated. She crouches down by the feet of the latter, 
places her ear close up to the instrument, and listens 
attentively. There is a singular expression upon her 
face. 

I look at Seguin. That upon his is not less singular. 
His eye is fixed upon the girl's, gazing with intensity. 
His lips are apart, yet he seems not to breathe. His 
arms hang neglected, and he is leaning forward as 
:t to read the thoughts that are passing within 
tier. 

He starts erect again, as though under the impulse 
of some sudden resolution. 

' Oh Adele ! Adele !' he cries, hurriedly addressing 
his wife ; ' oh, sing that song ; that sweet hymn, yon 
remember ; you used to sing it to her — often, often. 



TOUCHING THE CHORDS OF MEMORY. 4-i3 

Tou remember it, Adele ! Look at her. Quick ! 

quick ! Oh God ! Perhaps she may ' 

He is interrupted by the music. The mother has 
caught his meaning, and with the adroitness of a prac- 
tised player, suddenly changes the tune to one of a far 
different character. I recognise the beautiful Spanish 
hymn, ' La madre a su hija' (The mother to her child). 
She sings it, accompanying her voice with the bandolin. 
She throws all her energy into the song, until the 
strain seems inspired. She gives the words with lull 
and passionate effect : — 

' Tn duermes, cara nifia ! 
Tu duermes en la paz. 
Los angeles del cielo — 
Los angeles guardan, guaixlan, 

Nina mia! — Ca — ra mi ' 

****** 

a. he si'iig was interrupted by a cry — a cry ot singu 
lar impoit — uttered by the girl. The first words of 
the hymn had caused her to start, and then to listen, 
if possible, more attentively than ever. As the song 
proceeded, the singular expression we had noted 
seemed to become every moment more marked and 
intense. "When the voice had reached the burden of 
the melody, a strange exclamation escaped her lips ; 
and, springing to her feet, she stood gazing wildly in 
the face of the singer. Only for a moment. The 
next moment, she cried in loud passionate accents, 
' Mamma ! mamma !' and fell forward upon the bosom 
of her mother ! 

Seguin spoke truly when he said, ' Perhaps in God's 
mercy she may yet remember.' She had remembered — 
not only her mother, but in a short time she remem- 
bered him. The chords of memory had been touched, 
its gates tin own open. She remembered the history 
of her childhood. &&• "emembered ell I 



1 40 THE SCALMIOXTKHS. 

I will not essay to describe the scene that followed 
1 will not attempt to picture the expression of the 
actors; to speak of their joyous exclamations, mingled 
with sobs and tears ; but they were tears of joy. 

All of us were happy — happy to exultation : but foi 
betjuia auneeif, I knew it was the hour of his ty'e* 



±41 



EXPLANATOKY NOTES. 



' Corralled wagons.' — Page 23.] It is usual for emigrants, 01 
traders, who cross the plains, when halting for the night, to place 
their wagons so as to form with them a hollow square. This makes 
a ready fortification against Indian attacks; and also servos as an 
enclosure for such of their animals as are likely to stray. The word 

* corral ' is used in such cases. It is the Spanish for enclosure ; and 
it may be here observed, that as the Spaniards were the first Euro- 
peans who penetrated into these regions, much of the nomenclature 
of the prairies — particularly the southern prairies — is taken from 
their language. 

' The Prairie fever.' — Page 25."j A phrase used to distinguish 
that longing to return to the prairie wilds, experienced by those 
who have once lived upon them. It is not unlike the feeling which, 
at times, is said to come over the ' salt ashore.' 

' Plum Buttes.' — Page 26.J Butte — A name given to small 
isolated mountains tlat rise knoll-like from the plain. The 

• Plum buttes,' near the ' Bend,' of the river Arkansas are 
celebrated land marks. 

' Mountain men.' — Page 35.] All who hunt, trap, or trade 
among the Kocky Mountains, and their ' parks ' are known a* 
' mountain men.' 

' Cammed.' — Page 38.] A Spanish phrase adorted into western 
parlance ; a deep cleft, seemingly cut through a mountain ridge, 
with a stream running in its bottom, is a canon — pronounced 
kcnyon. Canoned is the verb, and in use generally. The canon 
is a formation met with over all the surface of Spanish America. 
There is nothing exactly similar in the old United States' territory 
It is a feature of the table lands. 

Lariat.' — Page 42.] A ' Lariat,' is a long rvpe of, most gene- 
rally, twisted rawhide, used for ' picketing ' a horse, and other 

2 F 



442 the scalp UUN i tins. 

purposes. The lariat or laiyette is nothing more than a ' laze, 
or "lasso,' in the use of which the prairie Indians and all Spanish 
Americans are so skilled. But it has been so often der.oriiir.l, it 
would be superfluous to give any account of it here. The ' trail, 
rope,' and • cabriesto " are similar things. 

' Goats' — Page 43.] A very unpoetical cnme for antelopes, 
Dut that by which the trappers choose to distinguish them. 

* Fontaine que Bouille.' — Page 4 7.] The name of a celebrated 
boiling spring near the head waters of the Arkansas. The noincii- 
clr.ture ot prairie-land is nearly one half French. This is accounted 
for by the proximity of the French settlements at .St. Louis anil 
New Orleans, as well as the fact that many of the earliest prairie 
wanderers were of that nation. Canadian Frenchmen are to be 
found all over the western countries, and their traces may W 
di'tected in the progeny of almost every Indian tribe. 

' PoWanas. — Page 52.] The ' Poblana,' is the Mexican ' maja, 
or fashionable belle of the lower class Her dress is exceedingly 
picturesque, and not over long in the skirt. 

' Sula.' — Page 52.] The Sala of a Mexican house is what we 
would term the drawing-room. It is that in which visitors are 
Cenerally received, and not the apartment kept for great occasions ; 
any large room, such as a ball-room, is termed a ' Sala.' 

'Bandolon.' — Page 53.] The bandolon is a stringed instrument 
very much like a guitar. It is found in almost every Mexican 
house, and there are few who cannot plr.y a little upon it. It 
might be called a 'cross' between the guitar and banjo, as it 
partakes of the character of both these instruments. 

Puros.' — Page 53.] Puros are simply cigars manufactured in 
Mexico. The name serves to distinguish them from the ' Cigarros 
de papel,' or small paper Cigarettos. The latter, however, are in 
much more general use among all classes of Mexicans, high or low, 
male or female. Ilavannah cigars are also smoked, but to no 
great extent. The little cartridge of paper is the favourite. 
There is also another kind in limited use, the ' Campeacheanos,' 
or husk cigarettes — that is, those rolled in the husk of the maize 
plant. The ' Mexican puros,' are smoked extensively in London, 
inder the name of ' Pickwicks.' 

' Taos whiskey' — Page 53.] Taos — San Fernando de Taos — 
is a Pueblo settlement in New Mexico, far north, near the head 
waters of the Del Nort<?. There are several • stills ' at work here 
ehicfly managed by retired trappers. 



EXPLANATORY NOTES. 443 

* Agwardent, or Vino.' — Page 53.] Aguardiente, or wine. 
Aguardiente is the Mexican name for strong drinks. Agua- 
wdiente — burning water. It is generally limited, however to 
the whisker distilled from the maize and mezcal plants — the 
latter peculiar to Mexico. 

' Pelado.' — Page 59.] * Pelado,' and ' lepero ' are names given 
in contempt to the lower and more ragged classes of a Mexican 
town. Pelado means a very naked fellow. A 'lepero' is not a 
leper in the scriptural sense of the word, though ' lepero ' is the 
Spanish for that idea. But in common parlance among Spaniards 
and Spanish Americans, ' leperos ' are what among us are known 
as the ' rabble,' or rather the ' tag-rag and bob-tail.' 

' Hated each other'. — Page 60.] This national hatred is not ' 
peculiar to the Saxon and Spanish races of America. It is found, 
I believe, along the boundary frontier of every country. It nseds 
no explanation. 

' Cache'.' — Page 55.] The term in use upon the prairies sig- 
nifying to hide anything. Where anything has been concealed 
from the Indians or others, by being buried in the ground or hidden 
in the trees, the place is called a Cache. There is both the verb 
and noun. It is French phraseology, though used by all ' moun- 
tain ' men of whatever nation. 

Saguan. — Tage 67.] The passage or hall of the great doorway, 
leading into the patio of a Mexican house, is called the saguaii. 
The ' portero ' usually has his lodge on one side of the saguan, or, 
if not, there is a stone banquette on which he seats himself. The 
patio itself is the enclosed space in the centre — around which are 
the rooms of the house, with galleries running along in front of 
them. There is usually a fountain and three or four ornamental 
trees — limes or oranges — around it. The azotea is the roof — flat 
and cemented, so as to cast water and form &a agreeable promenade, 
or smoking place, when the sun is not too hot. 

The ventana is the window, glazed only in cities, or in fine 
•wuntiy houses ; but glazed or no, always detanked with heavy iron 
bars. These last form the reja. 

' Zequias.' — Page 75.] ' Acequias,' or ' Zequias,' are the 
artificial viaducts and canals used in different parts of Mexico for 
irrigation. Through these, the waters of the Del Nort£ are 
diverted out of their channel, and spread over the fields. To the 
4 irrigation system ' New Mexico owes much of its fertility. 

'Striped blanket.' — Page 75.] This is similar to tho 
' s«rape,' except in its colouring, which is sufficient to characterise 
It. It is simply broad bands of black and white alternating with 



*44 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

each other. The serape' is a mixture of the gayest colours 
speckled and oddly arranged, but never in flowers. Out of a 
thousand patterns, 1 do not think I have seen a flowered serape. 

' Posadas.' — Page 76.] The ' posada ' answers nearly to our 
country inn.' The 'fonda' is an establishment of higher pre- 
tensions, and in Mexican towns supplies — but very badly indeed — 
tiie place of a hotel. 

'Pueblo.' — Page 76.] A 'pueblo' is a town. A 'pueblit*' 
is a still smaller town or village, though ' aldea ' is also a village 

' Apaches.' — Page 77.] Pronounce * Apashe'es.' 

' Mozo.' — Page 79.] A Mexican boy or waiter. ' Peons,' 
labouring Indians are so called. 

' Xuages.' — Page 83.] Gourd's used for carrying water on a 
journey. They are in use all over Mexico. They keep the water 
sweeter and more cool than a tin canteen. A ' double headed' 
gourd is the best, as it can be strapped around the * waist,' or 
small part, and thus hung over the shoulders of the traveller. 

' The Spanish harp.'- — Page 89.] This instrument is very 
•ommon in Mexican houses of the better class. It is a smaller 
kind than that known as the Irish harp ; but in other respects, as 
far as I could see, precisely similar. 

Pa^e 95.] The Campeachy chair is a peculiarity. The ex- 
'ension of the back, which curves slightly, forms the front legs of 
'he chair, crossing the others after the manner of a camp stool. 
[ cannot describe it intelligibly. It resembles a species of rocking- 
'hair, used in America ; not the large rocking-chair, but a smaller 
and cheaper kind. The ' Campeachy,' however, is not a rocker. 

' The Petate.'— Page 95.] The mat plaited of palm leave* 
— sometimes tide (bulrush). It is as thin as a piece of carpet; 
bat over all Mexico a petate spread on the floor forms the sole bed 
of the humbler classes. 

' Tiled floor.'— Page 97.] There are few Mexican house* 
with wooden floors. These are generally ot bricks or tiles — not 
carpeted, but often painted in gay patterns, as though they were. 
These floors, in a warm climate, are much preferable to wooden or 
carpeted ones. 

' Cotton-wood.' — Page 308.] The great cotton-wood tree, th« 
characteristic timber of much of the prairie land. On many of 
the river " bottoms " no others are found. The cotton-woods are 
no called from a downy substance which they shed resembling 
uotton, or the floss of the thistle 



EXPLANATORY XOTES. 44& 

Gila.' — Page 109.] Pronounce Ileela. This river rises in 
the Mimbres mountains, near the 32nd parallel of north latitude, 
and runs a westward course, througli a rocky, desert -egion. It 
unites with the Colorado, about fifty miles from the embouchure 
of the latter in the Vermilion Sea. 

Page 115.] The horrid details given in this page are true- 
are facts — but Seguin was not the author of these atrocities, as he 
declares. They were perpetrated by other men — fiends rather — 
belonging to a race and country that boasts of its higher humanity. 
But the crimes of such men as Johnston and Kirker — men who 
figured in these brutalities — cannot be chargeable to their country. 
Such men are exceptions — the monstrosities of their kind. 

' Vaquero' — Page 119.] A 'Vaquero' is a ranchero or 
countryman, who looks after cattle. As Mexico is chiefly a 
grazing country it will be seen that there are many of its inhabi- 
tants employed in this pursuit. The vaquero is always mounted, 
and generally well dressed. He carries the lazo constantly ; and 
he is the man, above all others, who can use it with dexterity. 
.Ie can fling it over a bull's horns twenty yards off, or loop it 
"■ound the foot of the animal when going at a full gallop ! This 
feat I have witnessed a hundred times. Your vaquero is also 
expert in the game of ' Colea de toros,' or ' bull-tailing ' — that is, 
he can, on horseback, catch the tail of a running bull — whip it 
under the hind leg — and fling the animal on its back ! This feat 
also have I witnessed over and again. The vaquex'o takes his 
name from ' vacas,' signifying cows or cattle. 

'Presidios' — Page 120.] Garrisons kept along the Indian 
frontier, to protect the mines and missions. Of late years — or 
ever since the downfall of the Spanish power — they have baen ill 
kept ; and, in fact, served but little purpose — as, upon any hostil* 
demonstration of the Indians, the presidio soldiers were sure tr> 
•hut themselves up in their strongholds, and leave the settlers to 
take care of themselves. The country around the presidios is now 
completely depopulated from the dread of the Apache and Co- 
manche. 

' North of the Gila* — Page 121.] The triangle lying between 
the Gila, Colorado, and Del Norte' — a fearful desert — is leii 
known than any part of the North American continent. The 
iJnited States' government is about exploring it at the present 
time. 

' Gates of Durango.' — Page 121.] The Comanehes did • harry," 
t© the very gates of Durango in 1846. They fought one ' pitched 



446 THE SCALP-HUNTERS. 

Dattle ' with the Mexican soldiers, and completely routed ths 
latter In the battle, the Indians followed a system of manieuvres, 
and actually charged several times in cavalry line! 

' Yuca palm.' — Page 12-):.] The yuca, or palmilJa, is a very 
picturesque object in the vegetation of the table lands. From its 
roots the New Mexicans manufacture a kind of soap. 

'Blazed.' — Page 126.] Trees are ' blazed' to mark a part or 
boundary, by a piece of the bark being chopped out with an axe. 

' Fragments of pottery.' — Page 127.] These are found in all 
ruins of Mexican towns or settlements — pottery being a common 
»nd plenteous article in use for kitchen utensils. The art nf 
making it, and staining it with a fast dye, was known to the 
Aztecs ; and among the Aztec ruins on the Gila, much of this is 
found still retaining its original tints. 

■ Ciboleros.' — Page 142.] The ' Ciboleros ' of Northern Mexico 
are men who employ their lives in hunting the buffalo for his flesh. 
They also trade for it with Indians, and then carry it to the 
settlements for sale. The ' Ranchero ' is a Mexican countryman, 
above the order of the serf or peon. He is the vaquero at times 
or the arriero, or he may be possessed of a small holding, and farm 
it for himself. He is a great horseman, and always mounted, 
/alloping after cattle, or amusing himself in some other way. 
The vaquero is also a ranchero ; so, too, is the inontero, who is so 
called from living in a mountainous district. 

'Parfleche.' — Page 143.] The thick sole leather made frcm the 
iide of the buffalo is so termed in prairie-land. 

'Bloody Ground.'— Page 146.] Tart of the valley of the Ohio 
has been so called, in times past, from the terrible battles fought 
there between the early colonists and Indians. 

' There icere men of every hue.' — Page 148.] It is a strange 
fact that to this region — most remote from any country — men of 
almost every country have wandered, and become part of its ncmade 
population. 

' Tilmas.' — Page 148.] The ' tilma ' is a sort of blanket shirt, 
without any ; cut ' about it. It looks like a short bag, with the 
bottom taken out, and holes made in the sides for the arms to 
pass through. It is altogether a garment of tli3 very humblest 
class — the Indian peons. 

' Gruya.' — Pago 148.] A species of small bluish crane, found 
nil over the table lands of Mexico. 

*Killbar's muzzle.' — Page 150.] Kill-bear, the name of his gtua 



EXPLANATORY NOTES. 447 

It is common among the mountain men tc naiue their rifles arte* 
such a fashion. 

' Ermine skins.' — Pago 151. J The white ermine is found over 
til prairie land. Its skins are used by the Indians to trim tneir 
ihi'rts, and form pendant fringes. Frequently an Indian will have 
more than a hundred of these valuable skins stitched over his 
dress. 

' The while buffalo robe.' — Page 151.] The white buffalo is 
m Albino cf the bison tribe. His colour is not exactly white, but 
'whitish inclined.' However, it distinguishes him sufficiently 
from the rest of the bison tribe to entitle him to the name. They 
are very rare, and their skins or robes are valued in proportion. 
It is no easy thing to come across the skin of a white buffalo. 

' Killbar's a ninety.' — Page 1 52.] The rifles in use among 
hunters are usually of very small bore, the bullet sometimes not 
larger than a drop of buck or swan shot. There is a reason for 
this, and a good one too. Such a shot, properly directed, will do 
the business for either man or beast. But it offers this advantag« 
over the larger bore. A trapper may be necessitated to live in the 
wilderness for a year or two at a time, with no post or settlement 
within hundreds of miles of him. How, then, could he carry a suffi- 
cient supply of lead, unless by using a very small bore rifle ? This, I 
take it, is the solution of the matter, though I never heard the 
thing spoken of among the trappers themselves. The small bore 
seems to h;tve come to them by instinct. 

'Bent's Fort.' — Page 154.] A celebrated trading depot on the 
Upper Arkansas. It was owned by the brothers Bent. One of 
these is spoken of in our pages. His brother, after New Mesico 
fell into the hands of the United States, was made governor of 
that country. But he lived but a short time to enjoy his honours. 
He was killed in a revolution of the New Mexicans and Pueblos, 
which occurred while the American troops were engaged in making a 
conquest of El Paso and Chihuahua. The revolution was crushed 
soon after, and his deatli was avenged in a terrible manner. 

'Poor bull'— Page 161.J Poor bull— that is, buffalo bull — U 
the phrase used by the trappers to denote very poor living indeed. 
Fat cow ' is the antithetical idea. 

' Azul or Prieto' — Page 177.] Tributaries to the Gila — run« 
ning in from the North. 

' Escopettes.' — Page 178.] The eccopette is a short piece — used 
generally as a horseman's gun. They have strap and swivels, and 



448 THE SCALr-HUNTERS. 

many of them are merely raseed muskets. They were much used 
in the late Mexican war ; as I have some reason to remember. 

' Cavayard.' — Page 183. ] The trappers' idiom for Vwallada, 
which means, a drove of hoises, or horses and mules. A drove of 
mules alone is called mulcuia ; and a number of mares together is 
sometimes termed a manada. 

' Musquite.' — Page 189. J Mezquite Rube means — a species ol 
acacia, found through all parts of the arid table lands of Mexico, 
It is a thorny bush, as almost every bush of the desert is. There 
are many other varieties of the acacia tree found in the Mexican 
territory. 

' The nut pine. — Page 190.] The pinon, or nut pine, is a 
variety of pine whose cones are edible, and when roasted ana 
pounded, make excellent bread. It is found growing all over the 
western mountains of America, from the Rocky Mountains to the 
Pacific Ocean. It grows in abundance in many parts of California. 
The Indian tribes, who dwell where it grows, gather the cones, 
and lay up a stock of them for winter subsistence. The tree differs 
considerably in appearance from other varieties of the pine. Pinon 
is pronounced pecnyoii. 

' Tasajo.' — Page 191.] Jerked meat. The process of jerkins 
meat is as follows : — The meat is cut in long strips, and hung over 
a line in the sun. It thus becomes dried before decomposition can 
take place; though 'tasajo' usually gives one ideas that this has 
partially done so— if we are to judge by the smell. Tasajo is 
found in most countries where thara is a scarcity of salt, as there 
is in most parts of Mexico, while in other parts, again, it may be 
gathered in wagon loads. But the want of roads and communica- 
tion between the cities and salt districts, render it cheaper to 
toipoxt the article frooi abroad. 



ffoodfall and Kinder, Printer*, Milford Lane, Strand, London, W.C 



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%1 




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